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3D Printers Can Now Print Concrete

We’ll soon be saying: There’s a 3D printer for that

3D printing has seen massive strides over the past few years, allowing designers, architects, engineers, and practitioners from across all industries to "print" an endless array of (usually plastic) objects, from home objects to wheelchairs to entire offices.

Turns out, you can even print concrete. TU Eindhoven, a university specializing in technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands, has been using an apparatus that can create concrete objects of up to 11 meters (36 feet) long, five meters (16 feet) wide, and four meters (13 feet) high using 3D printing methods.

Manufactured by Rohaco, a Dutch company that provides industrial logistical solutions, the printer, which is the first of its size and kind in the Netherlands, resembles an overhead hoist crane with a swivel head that is attached by a hose to a concrete mixer and pump. In traditional construction practices, concrete is poured into an existing mold. This 3D printer will push out concrete in a more free-form, customizable way, allowing for smaller and more detailed construction, as well as the use of different mixes of concrete in a single piece.

The university plans to develop the printer over time and educate builders to adapt it to their individual uses. Currently, the printer is being used to create recyclable concrete products and pavilions. Take a peek at how it all works in the video and images below.