Answers to some FAQs -

Overheating electronics when it is hot outside:

I have not come to a clear cut answer on the overheating drivers, on a typical day of nonstop printing, the thermometer on the heat sinks stays between 40-45 deg C.  I can not fully explain why the problem occurred, but it looks just bad luck due to several spontaneous factors on a very hot day.  It has not reoccurred during the printing of the castle, and he drivers have been working just fine. For those trying to build big printers, I still highly recommend the Toshiba drivers from James Newton that I have been using. I haven't had any other problems and they have been working flawlessly.

Many people have been asking me about the design:

I am constantly working on changing and improving the printer.  From everything learned during the printing of the castle I have the design for next simpler and more reliable version of the printer.  I plan to release the technology, but I have spent a lot of time and money on the project and would like to accomplish certain goals, for example printing my first house, before I release the plans to the community.  The timing of the release will depend on how soon I can find an interested investor to print the first house.

I'd like to order a castle. Can you print one for me?

It was not my original goal to print castles, only printing this one to test the technology prior to printing an actual house.  Having said that, I enjoyed creating the castle and it turned out unique and beautiful.  I am considering printing them as a separate small business and have already started sketching some variations of the castle in other styles.  I'd love to try a more romantic/fantasy style and possibly something more modern.

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The Castle by​ â€‹3D-Printer

​3D Concrete House Printer

Lessons Learned

It has been very rewarding seeing this printer developing from theory into reality, some parts were even more successful than I anticipated. For example, I was concerned that when printing over 50 cm vertical height the lower levels would buckle under the weight.  Thankfully this did not happen, and in warm weather the layers have plenty of time to dry and harden. For my next project I plan on printing the entire structure day and night without stopping, again weather permitting. During nonstop printing the layers turn out very even, all defects and imperfections on the castle happened when I stopped and started the print. Given the success of the preliminary testing, I am now fully convinced that I am ready to print a medium-sized house.

August 7, 2014

3D Printed Concrete Castle - Current Status and What's Next

The walls of the castle have been printed, all that remains are the three tops of the towers. The main goal of the castle, testing of the technology, is complete and the three towers will be added for aesthetic appeal within the next week, weather permitting.  Mikhail Tikh, a design engineer collaborating on the project responsible for the 3D model of the castle, is presently finalizing the design based on lessons learned during the printing of the castle walls.

Challenges and Goals

Now that many of the technical challenges are resolved, the remaining hurdles are construction codes and funding.  Unfortunately current construction codes are not written with 3D printing in mind and it will take some creative engineering to meet all required codes while creating a 3D printed house. I am now looking for interested investors to finance the building of a new unique 3D printed house, as well as help me work through the building codes of wherever this house will be built.  Obviously, I would like to build this house close to home, in Minnesota, but given that the construction season will shortly be coming to a close, and winter is about six months long here, this house may have to be printed in a warmer state or possibly another country. Since the printer is modular and easy to construct on site it can be up and printing within about a month in any part of the world.