It has been two years since an editor from 3dprinting.com last visited the latest project by DUS Architects: the 3D Print Canal House. In the mean time this Amsterdam-based project gained a lot of attention from international giant media companies, such as Time magazine and The Guardian. In other words, it was high time for us to visit this 3D printing project again.
In case you’ve never heard about this tech project: in Amsterdam a team led by Hedwig Heinsman from DUS Architects is 3D printing an entire house, using a giant 3D printer, called the KamerKamer (‘chamber maker’). If you would like to go there yourself, then you first need to get to the Central Station in Dutch capital Amsterdam, whereafter you can just take a picturesque ferry to the other side of the lake: the Northern part of Amsterdam. The boat will only take a couple of minutes and it will give you a nice view of the city seen from the waterside. After arriving on the other side, it will only take you a couple of minutes to find the ‘worksite’.
The Netherlands are one of the leading countries in 3D printing innovations. Last week, the country internationally made the news, as for the first time in history doctors managed to entirely replace a patient’s skull by a 3D print, saving someone’s life. Completely different, but also innovating: Dutch department store Hema is currently working together with Amsterdam-based jewelry company Zazzy to provide for personalized 3D printed jewelry. And Zazzy is currently sharing an office with 3DHubs, a striking company that makes it easier for 3D printing designers to find each other. And then there is LUXeXcel, a company working on 3D printing techniques to improve our glasses and let’s not forget about the first 3D printing factory, which is located in Dutch city Eindhoven.
Ok, we made our point: Holland is an innovative country when it comes to 3D printing. The 3D Print Canal House surely proves this. The idea of the project is to 3D print an entire canal house with many different rooms. Every room will be dedicated to a specific use, with for instance a recycle room, where plastic bottles will be used for the KamerMaker printer in order to print out stuff. And then there is a rain room, where collected rainwater will be used for toilet purposes. And have you ever heard about a chamber with the name ‘potato room’ before? It’s what we’re pointing at: every room in the house will be durable and will contribute to the house in some way.
But there are many more remarkable things about this house. For instance, it will use a facade, which fosters solar energy. The facade elements will orientate correspondingly. Another epoch-making collection of objects in this house is the so-called potato table ware. Waste from a potato is being used to produce tableware, such as bowls and cups (see picture above). Unfortunately a couple of them didn’t survive the hands of interested visitors, so there is still some room for improvement when it comes to the strength of the products. However, that’s why this is still a project, isn’t it?
The company expects it will take a couple of years before the house will fully be printed. With the current printing techniques where the team uses plastics and melted materials, it takes a lot of time before an element of the house, such as a room, is entirely 3D printed. The University of Southern California currently works on a different approach to 3D printing houses, namely contour crafting. Instead of these plastic techniques, they focus on concrete-like materials, with the purpose of speeding up the whole process. Whether DUS Architects will use a similar approach any time soon is still unknown, but we can unveil the company has the aim to be printing on the canal house for 24 hours a day.
— 3D Printing.com (@3dprintingcom) April 2, 2014
In a couple of years, an entire 3D printed canal house will be printed in a modern kind of way. DUS Architects wants to keep on implementing new techniques in order to improve its design constantly. Parts of the house could therefore become outdated, but the architects team is open to new developments and might replace them for parts made by new techniques. However, they will never throw old plastics (such as this piece of art below) away, as old materials can be used for new 3D printing purposes.
3D Print Canal House can be seen as a big FabLab-ish project, where a lot of designers, architects and nerds (in a surprisingly hipster kind of way) work on tomorrow’s techniques. If you’re interested in the project, then you might want to come over to Amsterdam to check out the exhibition yourself. We can lift one last corner of the veil, as the team is currently also working on a way to 3D print wood. They use a mixture of wood and plastics and the result smells exactly like a combination of wood and plastics. Very surreal, but that’s probably also what you get when you buy a piece of furniture at 4 AXYZ.
That’s it for now! If you would like to see more pictures we made of this interesting project, then check out our album on Facebook via this link.