'World-first' 3D-printed homes to be built in The Netherlands

Project Milestone will be the first 3D-printed housing development to be fully occupied. (Photo: Supplied/3D-Printed House)

A Dutch neighbourhood will be the site of a what is claimed to be a world-first 3D-printed housing development, with the first residents due to move in as soon as next year.

The partners in the project, called Project Milestone, said it is a world-first because the 3D-printed houses in the development will all be occupied.

Their plan is to print five multi-storey, sustainable, fully habitable concrete homes.

“3D-printing of concrete is a potential game-changer in the building industry,” the developers said in a statement.

The project partners said the technology allowed it to create homes in almost any shape, and to print “all kinds, qualities and colours of concrete, all in a single product”.

Customisation is also easier and cheaper with 3D-printed homes, the project partners claim.

They said the buildings have been designed to appear as “erratic blocks in a green landscape”.

Their irregular contours are possible thanks to the ability of 3D printers to generate almost any shape.

The developers say the design aims to be environmentally friendly, including not having a natural gas connection — which the partners said is quite rare in The Netherlands.

“Another important advantage is sustainability, as much less concrete is needed and hence much less cement, which reduces the CO2 emissions originating from cement production,” they said.

The project is being conducted in partnership with The Eindhoven University of Technology — which is in the same city as the neighbourhood due to receive the 3D-printed dwellings.

The first house will be a single-storey, three-room, 95-square-metre home, with the next four homes being built as multi-storey dwellings.

The team hopes to gradually transfer more and more of the actual 3D printing process to the build site as the project progresses, with plans for the last home to be created completely on-site.

The homes are expected to be rented out to tenants in 2019, and will be subject to all the ordinary building regulations applicable to other dwellings.

3D-printed electronic tattoos could charge up battlefield warfare

Researchers have developed a low-cost method to ink electronics on the skin, paving the way for military applications.

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A team of scientists from the University of Minnesota has used a custom 3D printer to print electronics on human hands.

These electronic “tattoos” could be used for a number of purposes, including printing temporary sensors on soldiers to detect chemical or biological agents, or even acting as solar cells for charging critical electronic devices.

The new, low-cost technology has also been utilized to print biological cells on a mouse’s skin wound, which may pave the way for direct skin graft printing out in the field.

“I’m fascinated by the idea of printing electronics or cells directly on the skin,” said Michael McAlpine, the study’s lead author and the University of Minnesota Benjamin Mayhugh Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “It is such a simple idea and has unlimited potential for important applications in the future.”

screen-shot-2018-04-27-at-08-24-55.jpg McAlpine group, University of Minnesota

According to McAlpine, the printed markings could become a “Swiss Army Knife” for a variety of purposes made possible through one 3D printing tool.

The 3D printing technique is different from most as it allows for the body’s small movements during the process. Temporary markers are placed on the skin and the surface is scanned, while the printer uses custom software to adjust to movements in real-time, which keeps circuit designs in place.

See also: Sensors under the skin monitor your alcohol intake

An ink made from silver flakes which can cure at room temperature is used, which makes the direct printer-to-skin process safe and keeps hands from burning. The majority of today’s 3D printers require extreme heat to cure which would ruin human skin if it was used as a surface.

The temporary “tattoo” can be removed by washing it away in water or simply peeling it off.

“We are excited about the potential of this new 3D-printing technology using a portable, lightweight printer costing less than $400,” said McAlpine. “We imagine that a soldier could pull this printer out of a backpack and print a chemical sensor or other electronics they need, directly on the skin.”

The study has been published in the academic journal Advanced Materials.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and Regenerative Medicine Minnesota.

Previous and related coverage

3D-printed part visible to passengers will be flying soon with Finnair

When an airline updates its aircraft cabin layout, gaps are often created between the existing and new components. Such gaps need to be bridged before the aircraft can take on passengers, and time always is of the essence in returning a jetliner to revenue-generating service.

While 3D-printed parts have been integrated into Airbus aircraft in the past, this spacer panel – which fills an end-gap in a row of overhead storage compartments – will be the first in public view, installed aboard an A320 flown by Finnair.
By 3D-printing spacer panels for use aboard Finnair’s A320 aircraft, Airbus created bio-inspired panels 15 percent lighter than if made using conventional production methods.

A 3D-printed spacer panel receives a paint job before being installed aboard an Airbus A320 aircraft operated by Finnair – the first use of a 3D-printed component that can be seen by passengers.

The traditional method of manufacturing a new plastic part involves creating custom-made injection moulding tooling – a process that is relatively complex, especially given the specialised nature of many components and the limited number needed for a typical cabin retrofit. By using 3D printing technology, Airbus has enabled small-batch manufacturing that is not only quicker than conventional moulding techniques but less expensive, too. The 3D-printed components do require painting prior to deployment in the cabin.

Not only are 3D-printed parts as strong as those made with traditional molding methods, they can be made lighter in weight; an important consideration for jetliner interiors, where every kilogram counts. While 3D-printed parts have been integrated into Airbus aircraft in the past, the results were not deemed aesthetically pleasing enough to be used where they could be seen by passengers – until now.

Through a partnership with the Belgium-based Materialise company, Airbus now has the first 3D-printed parts seamlessly integrated into the cabins of its jetliners. These parts – spacer panels that fill end-gaps in a row of overhead storage compartments – have passed Airbus’ stringent cabin trim and quality standards and will soon be visible to passengers aboard Finnair’s A320 aircraft, whose cabin layout has been updated. 

By using 3D printing, Airbus was able to create bio-inspired panels 15 percent lighter than if made using conventional production methods. This technology also enables the creation of complex internal support structures, such as lattices inside the panels, without imposing additional manufacturing costs.

Finally, Your Next Car Could Be A 3D-Printed Electric Car — Only $7500 & Can Be Built In 3 Days

Cars 3d printed XEV LSEV

Published on March 24th, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart

March 24th, 2018 by Nicolas Zart 

With all the talk of hyper-performance electric vehicles (EV) and other unobtainium cars, we’re happy to report a refreshing story that should appease those unhappy with electric vehicle (EV) affordability. How about a 3D-printed EV for $7,500? And the best part is that you won’t have to wait for it very long.

3D-Printed, Affordable EVs For Tomorrow

3d printed XEV LSEVThe convergence of various technologies maturing over decades of development is none the more obvious than in the EV industry. Carbon fiber meets 3D printing, artificial intelligence meets better & better cameras and radars, etc. But it’s another level when that innovation leads to a cheaper vehicle.

When I read the official release at the press conference at the China 3D-Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai, I was shocked to find that the 3D-printed EV from the Chinese carmaker XEV and 3D-printing-connected startup Polymaker was going to sell for $7,500 and was almost ready to be mass produced. So, I had to dig a little further.

Polymaker is a developer of 3D printing materials. The planned EV is called the LSEV. It supposedly takes only three days to make it. While most components are 3D printed, the chassis, seats, and glass are not.

3d printed XEV LSEV3d printed XEV LSEV

According to Dr. Luo Xiaofan, co-founder and CEO of Polymaker: “XEV is the first real mass production project using 3D printing. By saying real, I mean there are also lots of other companies using 3D printing for production. But nothing can really compare with XEV in terms of the size, the scale, and the intensity.”

XEV CEO “Stanley” added that: “after the research and investigation of the global auto market, they decided to design a small electric vehicle that can achieve C2M (Customer-to-Manufacturer) manufacturing which is stated as a main goal of the Industry 4.0 strategy.”

XEV LSEV By The Numbers

The LSEV measures 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall, 2.5 m (8.3 ft) long, and 1.3 m (4.3 ft) wide. It weighs in at 450 kg (990 lb). It’s top speed is 70 km/h (43 MPH) and XEV claims the LSEV has 150 km (93 miles) of range, approximately.

XEV claims to have reduced the number of plastics it uses from more than 2,000 to 57 pieces! This saves the LSEV 450 kg (almost 1,000 lb). This is also how the LSEV weighs much less than a similarly sized vehicle by a factor of half, or about a ton. While designing and manufacturing a car takes on an average 3–5 years, the use of virtualization helped XEV bring this down to under 12 months to finish the new design of the LSEV.

3d printed XEV LSEV

Why 3D-Printed EVs Have To Happen

3D printing and other modern technologies have matured exponentially over the past decades. The XEV 3D-printed LSEV is technically a neighborhood EV (NEV). With its modest top speed and range, it isn’t a “real car” according to some people, but it will satisfy most urban and city dweller needs. So far, the XEV has reportedly received 7,000 orders from Europe before production. The XEV LSEV is stated for production and delivery in Asia and Europe in 2019.

There are a few NEVs coming out of the woodwork this year. Most of them offer a noteworthy amount of maturity in their execution, features, and creature comfort. In many ways, these NEVs are getting closer to regular cars in terms of features and technology. They just don’t drive fast, which makes them excellent second neighborhood cars for groceries and dropping off kids.

The 3D-printed XEV LSEV is not only something to rejoice about here in the West — it can also potentially help developing nations ramp up their mobility and company fleet needs. We’ve also heard about 3D-printed houses in Russia. When that technology matures enough to meet the needs of our mobility demands and can be produced cleanly where and when needed, then I think we will have a much more efficient and resilient e-mobility network.

3d printed XEV LSEV

Tags: 3d printing, China, China 3D-Printing Cultural Museum in Shanghai, china electric cars, China electric vehicles, Neighborhood Electric Vehicle), Polymaker, XEV, XEV LSEV

About the Author

Nicolas Zart Nicolas was born and raised in the world of classic cars of the 1920s. It wasn’t until he drove an AC Propulsion eBox and finally a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news of that full torque, he started writing in 2007 for various CleanTech outlets. Since then, his passion led to cover renewable energy, test drives, podcasts, shoot pictures, and film for various international outlets both in print and online. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he has forged in those industries. Today he focuses most of his writing effort on CleanTechnica, a global online outlet that covers the world of electric vehicles and renewable energy. His favorite tagline is: “There are more solutions than obstacles.”