Inspired by the mud dauber, a little wasp that builds its home with mud, Massimo Moretti developed a way to create mud houses using 3D printing technology. Traditionally, earthen houses are formed by hand in a laborious, tedious process. But with a 3D mud printer, a house can be made in a couple of weeks. His organization, World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP), is dedicated to making housing affordable, particularly in places where the most abundant resource may be earth.
“Starting from the small format we’re developing a printer capable of laying down clay, to then move onto a bigger printer for houses at a very low cost and rebuild slums into natural villas (as Gaudì already thought of). Everything would be environmentally friendly as using ground as a main material,” the WASP website states.
For the last two years, WASP has been working towards the goal of creating full-size buildings with their printers. Ultimately, they want to offer a “full-sized, three-armed, 20-foot-tall, portable 3D printer” capable of printing structures as high as 10 feet, which can be hauled to a site by truck and assembled in two hours. Earth is then sifted into a powder, mixed with water and added to the machine where it’s then “extruded layer by layer” into a structure.
The process looks much like frosting a cake, and although it takes a while, it can shape almost any form of house and is very strong. For those wishing to make their homes in native shapes and styles, this type of printing is also ideal. At the Rome MakerFaire, WASP demonstrated the process with a smaller printer.
“We have a big goal and we work every day on little things to achieve it,” said Moretti. “We first created [marketable] extruders for clay, porcelain and ceramic, to give the chance of producing objects which have functionality and commerce value. Thanks to clay printing, it is possible a real self-made production that is practical and commerciable.”
Photos by WASP