Crane 3d printer review

The Infinite 3D Printer? « Fabbaloo

By Kerry Stevenson on September 20th, 2018 in printer

Tags: building, cement, concrete, construction, wasp

The Crane WASP construction 3D printer [Source: WASP]

The WASP Project is set to announce a large-scale construction printer.

WASP have been making highly unusual 3D printers for more than five years, specializing in materials like clay. Now the expertise they’ve gained on all their prior projects is being put together to create what they call the “Crane WASP The Infinity 3D Printer”.

It’s a construction 3D printer that extrudes “natural materials and cement mortars”, with which they are very familiar. The device is designed to print the structure on site, rather than in a factory and ship pre-printed parts to the building site. Thus the machine is also transportable, although it appears that it would involve some effort to do so.

It looks like it could be a bit of work to move the Crane WASP construction 3D printer from site to site [Source: WASP]

Support structures are still an obvious problem with this approach.

Here we see an image of how they approach the window problem. Evidently they pause the machine and insert a solid block to form the bottom of the window opening, and another to hold up the material above, which otherwise would fall catastrophically.

How to create a window opening with a construction 3D printer [Source: WASP]

I’m fascinated to watch how WASP has progressed to the Crane. They began with small devices extruding thermoplastic or clay, with the intent of having local printing for developing countries. Their desktop equipment made way for larger machines, including their massive delta machine.

Now the Crane takes a big step forward by combining all their knowledge together in a modular system capable of 3D printing buildings, or at least the walls of a building.

In their introductory video you can see their approach: 3D print a sparse structure, and then fill the void with insulative material. This speeds production of the walls and likely lowers the costs as well.

The material used is intended to be locally sourced at “0km”, with the addition of fibers to ensure strength. WASP explains that the materials used in the single “module” can be “cement, bio cement, natural dough”.

That last item suggests building sized cakes, but I’m not sure there is an oven large enough to cook it.

The Crane WASP construction 3D printer extruding building material [Source: WASP]

WASP says it will be possible to deploy a series of Crane devices to operate simultaneously to produce larger, more complex structures.

The modular concept of the Crane WASP construction 3D printer [Source: WASP]

While their video shows the printing of a cylindrical building, one can imagine their mechanism being able to 3D print other geometries by maneuvering the crane appropriately.

WASP has not yet released the machine for purchase, but intends on performing a live demonstration of the machine on 6-7 October near their headquarters in Italy.

A Google Earth view of the site shows a previous large-scale construction 3D printing experiment.

Satellite view of WASP’s construction printer testing area [Source: WASP]

Construction 3D printing should eventually be a significant process, but as yet we’ve seen only experimental ventures in the area. Now we see a company that has literally years of experience printing construction-style materials and large-scale 3D printing.

This could be the start of something very interesting.


What Does An Actual Construction Worker Think of Construction 3D Printing?

With all the attention being given to construction 3D printers, we thought it wise to see what an actual construction worker thinks of the technology.

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Large Object Printers Bring Visibility to 3D Printing

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3D Printing in Construction: More than Overhyped Promises and Underwhelming Deliveries?

The number one material used in the global construction industry is concrete, but how is it being used with recent construction 3D printing ventures?

Where Is Autodesk’s 3D Printing Assessment Tool?

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Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

View all of Kerry Stevenson's posts.

M3D Printer Review 2022 - Is This 3D Printer Worth The Money?


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Usually, when you see a seemingly great product for a very low price, alarm bells start ringing. However, every once in a while, you’ll find a product that genuinely lives up to the hype. Today, we’re taking a look at the M3D (Micro 3D) – an extremely compact, budget 3D printer.

We’ll be looking out for any areas it excels, but won’t shy away from mentioning any flaws we uncover. This way, you’ll know our coverage is balanced and impartial. This not only benefits us but lets you decide if a given printer is right for your needs. With that said, let’s begin.

Filament Diameter1.75mm
Supported MaterialsPLA, ABS, Nylon
ConnectivityUSB only
Printing SpeedUp to 55mm/s
Build Volume4.2 x 4.6 x 4.4”

Table of ContentsShow


    This printer comes in five bold shades: red, blue, green, grey, and black. It’s cube-shaped, 7.3” in every direction, meaning it’s among the most compact 3D printers on the market – perfect for sitting atop a standard desk. The whole thing weighs just 2.2lbs, too, thanks to its lightweight, carbon fiber frame.

    As you might expect, the build area is fairly small. It’s not uniform either, as it’s a little wider than it is deep. Still, this offers enough flexibility for most small projects, and larger models can always be printed in several parts. That said, the print speed isn’t fascinating, so it might take slightly longer this way.

    Notice the lack of a filament spool – it’s actually contained underneath the print bed! Now, this printer can only fit about half a spool at a time, so you’ll have to either buy smaller rolls or re-spool half of it each time. This isn’t a huge problem, but it’s definitely worth bearing in mind.


    For its size and price, the M3D actually produces decent-quality prints. It has a layer resolution of between 50 and 350 microns, so you can reproduce fairly detailed models. However, it does have a tendency to produce loose threads and extra hanging material, particularly on areas with an overhang.

    The edges come out crisp and well-defined, although supporting structures are often wispy. A quick buffing with a cloth will remove most of these imperfections after the fact, though, and supports are intended to be removed, so as long as they do their job, there’s no problem. All in all, not bad.

    Usually, entry-level printers only support a handful of different materials, but this one is capable of printing with a whole host of different filaments. With the right nozzle upgrade, you can even use carbon fiber, if you’d like – something very few budget printers support.


    One of the best things about the M3D is the lack of fuss. Normally, there are several things to check before getting started, but the M3D does a whole range of checks and calibrations automatically. Everything is taken care of, leaving you free to get the good bit: the printing itself.

    This printer comes with its own, specially-designed software, which is available for Windows and Mac. There’s no Linux support, unfortunately. This software is easy to use, although it does have to be left running for the entirety of the print. There’s a handy little percentage notice, though, to give you a vague idea of when it’ll be finished.

    You can, of course, use different software if you’d like. However, for new users, the M3D application allows you to hit the ground running. It’s straightforward but allows for a good degree of versatility and control over your models.


    Considering this model retails for less than $300, its print quality is astounding. This is among the least expensive printers available, yet it outperforms some far more expensive models. Sure, it’s likely not going to be enough to satisfy pro users, and it absolutely can’t stand up to commercial use, but for beginners, it’s perfect.

    This unit doesn’t offer any upgrades or variants (other than the color), plus the software it uses is included for free. As such, there are no hidden costs beyond those of the proprietary, smaller spools of filament. These are entirely optional, though, and third-party filament can be used if you spool them manually.

    As far as pricing goes, there’s nothing to complain about. What you see is what you get: a low-cost, compact printer with no additional charges.


    Micro 3D provide a good range of support options in case you run into trouble. There are tutorials, a Discord-based user forum, and even a dedicated area where you can log in and raise a support ticket. This is how you’re supposed to do customer support: as simply as possible.

    That said, the warranty period is pretty short at just three months. You can extend this by a year or two for a price, but at the time of writing, the page to do so returned a 404 error. Still, we’d expect the price to be fairly low given the cost of the printer. We’ve seen printers where the extended warranty costs more than a brand new M3D though, so don’t take it for granted!

    The knowledge base is pretty extensive, with guides covering everything from the basics of 3D printing to advanced tips for the software. Really, just about any issue you could face will be addressed in here somewhere, so in all likelihood, you’ll never need to request help from support.


    Update: As of May 2019, we can no longer recommend this 3D printer.

    The M3D was once a powerful and versatile printer, but it is no longer recommended due to its substandard customer service. It won’t do in 2022. If you want to buy a 3D printer but don’t know where to start, you could do far better than the M3D.

    Ball valve model. Part one


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    Hello. A year ago, I purchased an Up mini 2 printer, the question of choosing this device can be taken out in a separate article, in the same I wanted to share my project with you. This is a model of a ball valve that is installed on main gas pipelines.

    The main function of this layout is to demonstrate the mechanism for opening and closing the tap, so some parts are shown conditionally or not shown at all.

    When planning, the goal was immediately set to make a model with Arduino control. Namely: two buttons, LEDs (red and green) and a servo motor that will rotate the shutter 90 degrees.

    Based on an underground ball valve DN1400 of the Aleksin plant Tyazhpromarmatura on a scale of approximately (1: 35)

    Designed in the KOMPAS 3D program. Assembly method - gluing.

    Now directly about printing: The Up mini 2 printer is not particularly whimsical if you work with ABS plastic. Hardcore printer owners will not be interested in working with this printer model, but I liked it, and besides, there is something to compare with. I have experience printing with Picasa 3D Designer.

    Printed mainly at maximum settings: layer height 0.15; the speed is low...

    Here it is necessary to explain what kind of speed this is. The fact is that Up mini2 only works with Upstudio's own software. This imposes rather strict conditions, no third-party gcode'a. It is almost impossible to influence the print quality of problematic areas.

    So the 'low' speed is one of the three speeds that can be selected when compiling a print job, but I don't know how much it is in 'grams'. Nozzle at the printer 0,4. The choice of another is not expected, I think the plastic feed mechanism will not cope with such a nozzle.

    What is the print output? Quite high-quality details that are brought with a sandpaper and needle files.

    Plastic used ABS from ESUN in yellow, white, blue and red, except for dark blue, this ABS is from Spiderspool (do not recommend).

    In the next article I will tell you about the electronic part.

    P.S. I have already assembled this model before, but I did not take pictures / did not record the process, the first model turned out the way I intended it.

    Bye everyone!

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    3D printers in construction: prospects for application

    At first glance, 3D printing structures seem to be some kind of shell of a half-finished building. But upon closer examination, you will not find even a brick. Layers of material seem to build up one on top of the other - this is how a complex structure is created. It's a futuristic world of 3D printing where robotic arms automatically layer and compress layers of concrete or plastic or any other material into a foundation and build a structure.

    This method of construction is quite niche today - only a few prototypes of 3D houses and offices have been printed in the world. However, this technology represents an exciting and potentially powerful solution to building change.

    What is 3D printing in construction, what is the potential, and will we be working on 3D printed projects in the near future?

    1. What is 3d printing in construction?
    2. 3D printers in construction: how is it done?
    3. 5 examples of innovation
    4. How can 3d printed projects help construction companies?
    5. 3D printing distribution
    6. Civil engineering 3D printing
    7. Wiki House technology - an open source project for 3D printing: what is behind the concept
    8. Reverse side of the coin
    9. How 3D printing can be integrated into construction
    10. About PlanRadar

    3D printing in construction - what kind of technology?

    3D printing for construction uses both a 3D printer, which has a robotic “crane-arm” that builds structures right on the construction site, and the creation of certain elements by printers at the factory, which are already assembled into a structure on site.

    The concept of 3D printing is not new: it first appeared in the 80s. But it's only in the last decade that this technology has been improved enough (and the cost significantly reduced) to become a real mainstream.

    3D printers are not much different from conventional inkjet office printers. The software tells the printer about the dimensions of the final product. And then the printer starts to output the material to the platform according to the plan. 3D printers often use liquid metals, plastics, cement, and variations of various materials that, when cooled and dried, form a structure.

    In a 3D construction printer, the CAD or BIM programs tell the device what to print, and the machine begins layering the material according to the design plan.

    3D printers in construction: how do they work?

    3D printing concept - The printer extrudes a defined liquid mixture in layers, level by level, creating a design based on a 3D model. The prepared mix of concrete, filler, plasticizer and other components is loaded into the hopper of the device and fed to the print head. The mixture is applied to the surface of the site or to the previous printed layers. This is how most 3D printers work. Among them, there are three types of devices for 3D printing:

    Robotic printer

    Read also: New technologies in construction 2021

    5 innovative examples of 3D printing

    To date, only a few 3D printing projects have been implemented in the construction industry. Here are five of the most impressive and promising projects:

    Dubai City Hall Office Building, UAE

    1. Dubai City Hall Office Building, UAE

    3D printed building. The office block built in the UAE is 9,5 meter high building with an area of ​​640 m2.

    An Apis Cor 3D printer moved around an open-air construction site with a crane and erected different parts of the structure.

    2. Office of the Future, UAE

    Office of the Future, UAE

    Another impressive 3D printed building in the UAE, the Office of the Future is a unique, fairly large structure that currently houses a temporary headquarters organization Dubai Future Foundation.

    For this building, the elements were not created on site and were printed in 17 days, while the building itself was assembled in 48 hours.

    3. WinSun 3D Printer Houses, China

    WinSun 3D Printer Houses, China

    WinSun 3D Printing Company of China has also used factory-built 3D printers to build residential buildings. The company has created several house projects, including a small multi-storey building. All construction details can be printed quickly and cheaply and then quickly assembled on the construction site.

    The company calculated that it would cost as little as $161,000 to build and print their five-story building.

    4. 3D printed license plate at Lewis Grand Hotel, Philippines

    3D printed license plate at Lewis Grand Hotel, Philippines

    When planning a trip to the Philippines, consider staying at the Lewis Grand Hotel in Angeles City , Pampanga, where visitors will be greeted with the world's first 3D printed hotel suite. The hotel room was designed by Lewis Jakich, hotel owner and materials engineer, in collaboration with 3D printing specialist Anthony Rudenko. They created a massive 3D printer that prints sand and concrete based on volcanic ash. The room was printed in 100 hours.

    5. Two-story mansion in Beckum, Germany

    Two-story mansion in Beckum, Germany

    The first 3D-printed residential building with an area of ​​​​about 80 square meters - the brainchild of the German construction company PERI GmbH and the architectural design bureau MENSE-KORTE ingenieure + architecture. A BOD2 3D printer was used to print one square meter of double wall cladding in 5 minutes. The building is a structure with three-layer hollow walls filled with insulating mass. Installation of hollow pipes and connections during printing was carried out manually.

    3D printing in construction seems really impressive, but what are the real benefits of such technology?

    How can 3D printed designs be useful for construction companies?

    Proponents of 3D printing houses and commercial offices point to several advantages of this construction method:

    • Zero waste construction

    In the UK, almost a third of the waste comes from the construction industry. According to the Transparency Market Research Group, the construction industry worldwide will produce 2.2 billion tons of construction waste by 2025. And although most of the waste is related to the demolition of buildings, the construction sites themselves produce a lot of waste.

    Conversely, 3D printing can reduce waste to almost zero. A 3D printer uses a well-defined amount of material that is required to print a design - no more, no less. This can be a big savings.

    • Reduced energy consumption

    3D printing in construction encourages the use of locally available materials and natural ingredients. This practice can reduce energy costs in transportation, construction and manufacturing, as most local materials require less energy to process or install. If traditional materials with toxic chemical impurities are replaced with natural ones, then the toxicity of the entire construction can be reduced. In addition, local materials are often better suited to local climates and can reduce a building's heating or cooling load, which also reduces construction costs.

    • Save time and money

    As with AI in construction, a 3D printer can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This means construction projects have the potential to be completed much faster and a number of low-skilled labor costs can be avoided. What's more, 3D printing eliminates the need for temporary structures, such as formwork and scaffolding, that are commonly used in traditional construction. Studies of 3D printed concrete structures have shown a significant reduction in formwork requirements, reducing costs by 35-60%.

    • Can realize unusual design shapes

    One of the most attractive characteristics of 3D printers is their ability to create complex and unusual design designs, including a single, unique one. Since the job of a 3D printer is to layer the material, they can be programmed into absolutely any unusual shape that would be much more difficult to create with traditional techniques.

    • Minimize human error and improve safety

    The published statistics of workplace injuries by the American agency BLS in 2020 indicates that construction is one of the most traumatic areas and a high incidence of diseases. Every day, about 5333 workers die on the construction site. And with the advent of 3D printing, the number of work injuries and fatalities will obviously decrease, as it makes construction more programmable and automated. Robotic construction requires standardized, accurate and complete digital building information, making this technology more accurate and efficient, with minimal rework due to human error or any information inconsistencies. The usual problems with materials and components that need to be stored somewhere, protected from damage are leveled out, problems with installation and work in progress due to damage also disappear - 3D elements are created as they are built, they do not need to be moved and stored.

    • Exploring new markets

    The use of a 3D printer also allows construction companies to enter new market sectors that were previously inaccessible to them. And for start-up companies, having a 3D printer will be a competitive advantage. What's more, 3D printing is a brilliant way to elevate or improve the reputation of a construction company's brand among those who believe that concrete production has an impact on the planet's environment.

    Distribution of structural 3D printing

    3D printing for structural reinforcement, small scale components and structural steel could revolutionize design, construction and space exploration. In addition, the European Space Agency (ESA) believes that using 3D printed metals to create high-quality complex shapes can significantly reduce their cost, and they will become very common.

    ESA has developed a project with the European Commission to improve the printing of metal components that can be used in space. In total, 28 European partners have united for the joint project AMAZE (Additive Manufacturing Aiming Towards Zero - layer-by-layer 3D printing for zero waste from production and efficient production of high-tech metal products).

    Almost everything can be designed on a computer, so AMAZE plans to install a 3D printer on board the spacecraft, and as soon as an astronaut needs any part, a tool, he can simply print it.

    Structural 3D printing

    Civil engineering 3D printing

    Civil engineering 3D printing has been gaining popularity over the past decade, as has the aerospace and biomedical industries. This revolutionary manufacturing technique is based on its unique ability to create any geometric shape without any formal restrictions, minimizing waste but increasing productivity and results. The construction industry's push towards automation has recently reached important milestones, including the creation of the first structures using robotic "arms" and 3D printing technology.

    The use of 3D printing in the creation of structural elements from polymer materials, concrete and metals is becoming more common.

    These civil engineering technicians can create freeform and innovative architectural designs using CAD-integrated software.

    However, despite considerable research in the aerospace and bioengineering industries to evaluate and analyze this mechanism, there is still a lack of understanding of its use, the impact of 3D printed materials in civil structures, both in terms of material properties and structural response.

    Imperial College London

    Read also: Best Building Apps in 2021

    WIKI HOUSE - 3D printing in construction: what is the concept behind

    Wiki House is an innovative project created by a small group of architects in London in 2011 . It offers an open source digital house design system that allows users to create, upload and share designs and print their own houses.

    The kit does not require any special knowledge and training and can be created in 1 day. Elements are digitally cut from ordinary sheet material, like plywood, using a CNC machine. And it's much faster, less costly, and doesn't require the involvement of experts, as in conventional traditional construction.

    A standard two bedroom house can be built for less than £50,000 and additional components such as cladding, insulation, windows and more can be added to the main frame of the structure. The first house that was built on the basis of the open source Wiki House technology was a two-story building. The 3D printed house was presented at the London Design Festival in 2014.

    The Wiki House movement was spearheaded by Alastair Parvin, whose TED presentation "Architecture for People, Built by People" talked about the promise of 3D printing in construction. The creator of this project believes that Wiki House can help solve the housing problem, especially in emergency situations such as earthquakes (there is already evidence that 3D-printed houses can withstand shocks up to magnitude 8).

    In the future, this could become a real alternative to low-cost houses, while allowing the customer to control the design of the project.

    3D building built using Wiki House

    Will 3D printing be the sustainable future of building?

    3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the supply chain and structure through a new method of design and manufacturing. According to the study, 3D printing can help the construction industry become more economical, more efficient and greener.

    Saxon University of Applied Sciences scientists Ivo Kotman and Neils Faber claim that 3D printing technology will be a "game changer". They explored the possibilities of 3D printing concrete, and their conclusions are:

    • 3D printing shortens the supply chain and the overall design process. 3D printing right on the job site eliminates time-consuming steps in the design process. The architects, engineers, contractors, clients, and executives who normally have to be actively involved in a project are no longer needed in 3D printing. Since all tasks can be combined in one figure of the architect, who uses the modeling method and reproduces the exact holistic designs.
    • Pipe fitting and electrical wiring become easier and more efficient. Heating systems, insulation, plumbing and electricity all require the laborious on-site installation of conventional construction. However, in 3D printing, some of these features can be incorporated into the 3D printing process. Cavity wall printing is less resource intensive, improves insulation, and allows the use of 3D-printed hot or cold water channels. Moreover, the need for on-site installation is eliminated, which directly affects the reduction of waste.
    • The best logistics. 3D printing eliminates 3 logistics and shipping issues. Firstly, many materials and elements often deteriorate upon delivery, and if everything is printed on site, then damage is minimized

    Secondly, in order to withstand transportation, the parts must be with increased technical characteristics, which by default increases the cost of them, and therefore the entire project. 3D printing right on the construction site will help to avoid such additional costs.

    • Creation of individual house designs available to the general market. Usually, building a house with the involvement of an architect is an expensive pleasure for most consumers. But with concrete 3D printing, you don't have to worry about the chosen shape, it won't cost more. In fact, this means that in the future more people will be able to buy houses of their own design, according to their individual needs

    Reverse side of the coin

    While 3D printing is definitely attractive, it's still important to look at it impartially, removing some of the promotional stimulus. Skeptics note several disadvantages of this technology.

    • Research and development costs

    Most construction companies operate with relatively low profitability. To start using 3D printing everywhere, significant investments will be required.

    • Will consumers see this as a marketing ploy?

    3D printed houses, offices, shops and other infrastructure are often impressive. But do most people really want to live or work in one? For most people, brick houses are much more familiar and attractive. Other technologies such as prefabricated houses also seemed like an attractive technology of the future for some time, but have not been widely adopted, despite the fact that in many cases they were cheaper than traditional ones.

    • Difficulty integrating with other components

    3D printers can create unique and interesting designs. However, if you need a building that will use different materials or different elements that will not be suitable for 3D printing, then it will be a challenge to include a 3D printer for the building process.

    • Skilled labor shortage

    With the current problem of a shortage of skilled labor in the construction sector in general, 3D printing will require an even larger set of specialized knowledge and skills, which will have to be selected from an already small niche of candidates. So finding specialists to work in 3D printing for construction may be another difficult task in the future.

    • Construction quality control

    Weather conditions can slow down the traditional building process, but things are even worse for 3D printing. The environmental factor for commercial construction may reduce the demand for 3D printing. What's more, quality control can be a much more serious task, requiring constant monitoring of the process by real people at the construction site.

    • No standards and regulations

    Despite the regular mention of 3D printing in the media, it still has not had a significant impact on the construction sector. There is an obvious liability issue when using these printers, even more so than human liability when doing some construction work. And quite a few other ambiguities regarding this technology. So until norms and standards are established, as well as rules in this area, 3D printing is unlikely to become mainstream in the construction industry.

    Read also: New technologies in construction 2021

    How can 3D printing be integrated with construction?

    At the moment there is strong evidence that 3D printing is worthy of attention and can be applied in the construction segment, and it is likely that this technology will be used more in the coming years. True, it is not known how widely these devices will be used on the construction site, or whether they will remain only a tool for the manufacture of block elements for prefabricated structures. But for certain projects, it is reasonable to assume that 3D printers and this technology in construction will be a must-have tool in the arsenal of builders.

    Learn more