A 3D printer the size of a small barn will produce entire homes in Saudi Arabia

cobod bod2 house printer in testing facilities

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can fit comfortably on the side of your desk and bust out small home-printed objects, then Danish company Cobod International’s new 3D printer definitely isn’t for you. Roughly the size of a small barn, the BOD2 is the world’s largest 3D printer designed for construction purposes. It is capable of printing entire buildings up to 40 feet wide, 90 feet long and 30 feet tall. In other words, if you’re only looking to print out a DIY fidget spinner, you’re going to want to search elsewhere.

“Our second-generation 3D construction printer, BOD2, is special in the way that it has a modular frame which gives the opportunity for our customers to choose the size of printer that fits their specific purpose,” Asger Dath, communications manager for Cobod, told Digital Trends. “Furthermore, it is currently the fastest-printing construction printer on the market. With the tangential controlled print head, together with our customizable nozzle system, our customers are able to print different wall surfaces, especially very smooth wall surfaces.”

The printer functions in a very similar way  to a standard FDM (fused filament fabrication) printer. It is fed with concrete, which is then extruded using a motor in the print head. This concrete material is fed into the printer as a dry mix, prior to being mixed by a pump and then traveling through a tube to the print head to be expelled.

How the first-generation BOD 3D printed Europe's first house.

“We decided to develop the BOD2 after we found a great interest from the construction industry after we 3D printed the first building in Europe,” Dath said. “The many requests we got had all different purposes and therefore the sizes differed a great deal. [This] led to the idea of developing a modular construction printer that could meet the needs of all the requested sizes, instead of developing a printer in one or two sizes.”

The BOD2 printer was recently purchased by the construction company Elite for Construction & Development Co., with the express purpose of creating 3D printed private homes in Saudi Arabia. This is going to be a big job. In all, Saudi Arabia aims to build 1.5 million private houses over the next decade. While not all of those will necessarily be 3D printed, a tool such as this could certainly help save on both time and money.

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