The world’s largest 3D printer revealed – and it can make entire neighborhoods recyclable

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The world’s largest 3D printer revealed – and it can make entire neighborhoods recyclable

The world’s largest 3D printer has been unveiled in the United States and will be able to create new affordable housing neighborhoods to help combat homelessness, officials said.

The machine, called Factory Of The Future 1.0, was built on the University of Maine campus and combines artificial intelligence with robotic operations and high-performance computing.

Government officials said the printer exceeded their expectations and “was a beacon of innovation” – while Maine’s U.S. senator, Susan Collins, said it was “a great day for our university, our State and our nation.”

The campus is also home to the 2019 Guinness World Record for the largest polymer 3D printer, which can also create homes – but the new machine would be four times larger.

The university wants to show how houses can be built almost entirely by a printer with a lower carbon footprint.

He said this allows them to develop 3D house printing technology using bio-based materials to eventually print affordable housing neighborhoods to help combat homelessness in the area.

If buildings are not suitable, they can be recycled, officials added.

Habib Dagher, director of the university’s Center for Advanced Structures and Composites, said: “You can basically deconstruct them, you can grind them if you want, 3D printed parts, and reprint them with them, and start again .”

The building and construction sector accounts for around 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, mainly due to the production and use of materials such as cement, steel and aluminum which have a significant carbon footprint, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

Picture:
A house in Maine produced by the former largest 3D printer in the world. Photo: AP

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The printer will be capable of producing objects up to 96 feet long and 32 feet wide, with a height of 18 feet.

Dr Dagher said there was a shortage of affordable housing and workers to build houses. Maine would need 80,000 more housing units over the next six years.

Photo: AP The world's largest 3D printer is seen Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine.  (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
Picture:
The new machine offers opportunities to several industries. Photo: AP

But the machine’s production speed of 500 pounds (227 kilograms) of material per hour means it will be able to create new homes at a good rate.

The university said the printer offers “new opportunities for environmentally friendly and cost-effective manufacturing” for many industries.

These include national security, affordable housing, bridge construction, ocean and wind energy technologies and maritime vessel manufacturing, the statement added.

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