The future of affordable (and sustainable) housing may lie with 3D printing. The World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) has unveiled the world’s largest delta-style 3D printer, which can build full-size buildings out of mud and clay for nearly zero cost. The massive BigDelta printer stands 12 meters tall (40 feet), and it's nearly completed its first house at a cost of just 48 euros so far.
Italian innovator Massimo Moretti launched WASP with the goal to “create a means for affordable fabrication of homes, and provide these means to the locals in poverty stricken areas.” WASP’s affordable housing solution combines 3D printing with biomimicry, drawing inspiration from the mud dauber wasp that constructs its home from one of the world’s oldest building materials: mud. The choice of clay and mud inputs for the portable BigDelta was a conscious choice; although many 3D printers use cement, Moretti chose earth because of its low environmental footprint, local availability, and natural insulating benefits. Based on previous prototypes, the BigDelta will presumably build full-size houses using open-source software and a mixture of mud, clay, and plant fibers for reinforcement.
WASP has come an impressively long way in a short span of time, especially considering that the company doesn’t receive any public financing. They revealed their four-meter tall BigDelta prototype last year, and now their first 3D printed home is nearly complete. The BigDelta printer builds thick walls, and it’s able to lay down 60 cm – 1 meter of material every day.
According to Moretti, “When the work starts again, we will raise the wall until 4 meters, then we’ll create the door and build the roof. In the future we will test new materials and continue the research on soil and straw.”
Their timing is also advantageous. According to their press release: “Building BigDelta is much more than a dream come true if we consider that, by 2030, international estimates foresee a rapid growth of adequate housing requirements for over 4 billion people living with yearly income below $3,000. The United Nations calculated that over the next 15 years there will be an average daily requirement of 100.000 new housing units to meet this demand.”