It’s been well-established that 3D printers can make jewelry, cups and other trinkets. But labs and individuals are also venturing into larger items: rocket engines, art installments and so on. So why not go even bigger?
The KamerMaker (“room-maker”) is a 20-foot-tall 3D printer currently working on printing an entire house in Amsterdam. The house is more of an art piece than an actual habitat, but by March 1, it will rise above one of Amsterdam’s famous canals and be open to the public.
Like other plastic-based 3D printers, it works by extruding melted material layer-by-layer. The plastic then hardens and fuses together into a solid structure. The KamerMaker puts out more material at once than a standard desktop 3D printer, meaning it can build large objects faster. It’s still a slow process though.
Each room of the house will be printed in parts, which then snap together like Legos. Holes run through the walls to create space for pipes, wiring and other important infrastructure.
KamerMaker is not the only house-scale 3D printer. Contour Crafting, out of the University of Southern California, has been printing concrete houses for a few years now. Its printing method is even faster than the KamerMaker, as it extrudes more material at once, and tougher because it trades concrete for plastic. Both projects point out that 3D printing is not just about laying down small strips of plastic; there are many, many emerging options for materials, and the number of available technologies will continue to grow.
The KamerMaker team has already printed items like a large bench. After the grand opening March 1, the public will be able to tour the house and print their own creations.