Last week, at the International Bautec construction exhibition in Berlin, visitors were given the unique opportunity to see a house being 3D printed each day. Danish construction 3D printing company COBOD and its partner PERI Group undertook the ambitious project to demonstrate how the BOD2 construction 3D printer is capable of printing a house in less than 24 hours.
Over the course of four days, COBOD and PERI successfully 3D printed 3.5 houses, spanning 64-meters-square each. The fourth house was not completed on the fourth day because the partners undertook 3D printing two logos for Bautec. In total, COBOD says it 3D printed the equivalent of 8 meters square per hour.
The impressive construction 3D printing feat was on display to Bautec visitors, who could watch the large-scale BOD2 system at work between 9am and 5pm. Video timelapses from each day are now available for those who were not able to attend the event in person.
“With this showcase of live 3D construction printing we wanted to demonstrate that our BOD2 printer technology is ready for the market, as it has the quality, speed, robustness and stability to perform hour after hour, day after day and with incredible productivity beating the conventional construction methods,” said Henrik Lund-Nielsen, CEO of COBOD. “We set out to print 4 small houses in 4 days and we achieved almost that. Each of the first 3 days we printed a small house, but the last day on request of the exhibition we chose to print a couple of their logos in large scale and consequently could only print half a house.”
With a modular build volume of up to 15 m in width and 10 m in height, the BOD2 3D printer has an unlimited build length, enabling it to construct entire homes on-site. For the Bautec demonstration, COBOD and PERI installed a relatively small BOD2 configuration, with dimensions of 5 x 5 x 5 m—smaller than the seven BOD2 printers that have been sold by COBOD to various customers.
In terms of speed, the BOD2 has the theoretical capability to print up to 100 cm/second, but limitations in materials and pumping mechanisms mean that the printer can today achieve speeds of about 40 cm/second. At the event, COBOD was not able to print at the maximum speed for safety reasons.
Tilmann Auch, COBOD product development engineer, explained: “We would of course have liked to bring an even bigger 3D construction printer, but printing live during the exhibition meant some limitations. Consequently we could only print a very small one bedroom house of app. 4 meters by 4 meters. Also as for speed, we have had to restrict ourselves. During Bautec we only printed with 25 cm/second. This is due to the EU machine and robotics directive, which requires a safety fence around the printer, if we were to print faster. We surely did not want to put a fence up at the exhibition, as it would block the visitors’ possibility to see the printer in action too much.”
Despite the limitations, COBOD and PERI were able to successfully 3D print a house per day for the first three days, showcasing the technology’s ability to print a small house’s walls in about eight hours. At that rate, COBOD says, a house with a floor plan of 150 meters square could be printed in under 24 hours.
“During Bautec we proved in front of all visitors, that we with a minimal crew could 3D print an average of 8 m2 of walls per hour, and the walls were not even straight, as a good deal of them were curvy,” added Dr. Fabian Meyer-Brötz, Head of 3D Printing at PERI Group. “It is important to note that these freeform capabilities are not only relevant for architectural purposes but allow for the integration of functionality in the walls and hence enable smarter building designs. We are not aware of any other technology, which can produce such results. This is why we from PERI believe this technology is ready for the market, and we are pleased to bring it to the German speaking countries of Europe and continue the development in partnership with COBOD.”
Germany-based construction company PERI Group has been invested in COBOD’s trajectory for some time. In 2018, the company acquired a minority share in COBOD, and last April it was named as an official distributor of COBOD’s construction 3D printer.