In Minnesota, contractor Andrey Rudenko is currently working on a project of gargantuan proportions that seems to be stretching and exploring the limits of 3D printing technology. Using a printer that was substantially modified and expanded, he has printed a concrete castle in his own backyard. And at 3 by 5 meters, this concrete structure is the world’s first 3D printed concrete castle, and one of the largest objects that has, up till now, ever printed with 3D printing technology.
Rather than trying to build a machine that caters to theme parks and history enthusiasts, this project grew out of a desire to construct a 3D printer capable of constructing durable, realistic and inhabitable houses. He’s already looking at various locations to realize this: ‘last winter in Minnesota, which was long and frigid, showed that it is crucial to have multiple areas in different countries for experimental printing since you can never predict which conditions will arise.’
But Rudenko, who has a background in engineering and architecture, chose to firstly print his fantastical castle. This allows its creator to search for and experiment with the limits and possibilities this machine offers to construction companies. The castle’s unique features and shapes offers many challenging opportunities to do this, and leave room for Rudenko to make minor adjustments to the machine. And of course, it’s also a wonderful showpiece for his huge 3D printer.
As Rudenko told 3ders.org, this project follows years of preparation and planning:
‘I’ve been interested in this technology since I was in my teens. My concrete printing experiments started about 20 years ago, but at that point, advanced computers and software were not available for this type of technology. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I came across the RepRap project and started working on this machine again. It took about a year to build and develop special concrete mixes. Additional inspiration came from the naturally-laid layered sandstone I saw on a trip to Arizona a few years back. Ideally, I hope I can obtain the same natural look to my printed walls.’