Win sun 3d printing

Shanghai-based WinSun 3D Prints 6-Story Apartment Building and an Incredible Home -

The 3D printed home is an accomplishment which many architects and designers have at least been contemplating for a few years now. We have seen numerous companies as well as individuals jump into the space recently, with design concepts which take home building well into the 21st century. Although China has been lagging behind the U.S and Europe in terms of consumer and manufacturing-based 3D printing, one China-based company seems to be leading globally when it comes to the 3D printing of large-scale structures such as homes.

Back in April of last year, Shanghai, China-based WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. revealed what many believed was a hoax initially; 10 homes which were almost entirely 3D printed with a recycled concrete material. The company seemingly emerged from nowhere and surprised us all.

Well, today it was revealed that WinSun has made significant progress in their drive to 3D print livable homes and other structures. They have managed to 3D print an entire apartment building, consisting of 6 stories, as well as an impressive home, which certainly doesn’t appear to be 3D printed by any means. These structures were unveiled at the Suzhou Industrial Park, of east China’s Jiangsu Province, and the apartment building alone features a structure which is ​​approximately 1,100 square meters in size.

A stand-alone villa, which has been 3D printed

Using a machine which measures a staggering 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 132 feet long, the team at WinSun started with a basic CAD drawing which they fed to the massive 3D printer that was able to fabricate the structure piece-by-piece using a specially formulated and patented ‘ink’. The ink, which includes construction waste such as concrete, fiberglass, sand, and a special hardening agent, is an incredible way to recycle general construction materials — not to mention it is flexible, self-insulating, and resistant to strong earthquakes. The walls and other components of the structure were fabricated offsite with a diagonal reinforced print pattern and then shipped in and pieced together. The company then placed beam columns and steel rebar within the walls, along with insulation, reserving space for pipe lines, windows and doors.

A 6-story tall building which has been 3D printed by Winsun

The construction methods, according to the company, are able to save 60 percent of the materials typically needed to construct a home, and can be printed in a time span which equates to just 30 percent of that of traditional construction. In total, 80 percent less labor is needed, meaning more affordable construction, and less risk of injury to contractors.

Without a doubt, this is probably one of the the most exciting accomplishments within the 3D printing space we have covered. To be able to construct a 6-story building with 3D printed material is certainly a feat that’s guaranteed to garner further attention. WinSun is not done by any means.  They will continue to further the technology behind this incredible 3D printer, and hope to eventually construct numerous homes at affordable prices within mainland China. Check out some additional photos below of the construction process and the structures themselves. Let’s hear your thoughts on this incredible accomplishment in the 3D Printed Apartment Building forum thread on

Front view of the 3D printed stand-alone villa



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Winsun: Revolutionizing the Construction Industry with 3D Printing

In 2004, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of South Carolina built the first 3D printed concrete wall [1]. This breakthrough has led to an explosion of investment in the application and commercialization of 3D Printing in the US$ 10.6 trillion construction industry [2]. In 2013, there were barely 25 start-ups in the field; today there are about 65 offering a range of services throughout the construction value chain [3].

The reason for the increased interest in this sector is that there are a number of advantages this technology could bring versus traditional construction methods, such as lower cost, increased occupational safety, reduced waste and optimization in project schedule [4]. Despite these potential advantages, adoption of 3D printing has been slow. The construction industry is conservative and are deeply entrenched in traditional processes that has not fundamentally changed for many decades in terms of productivity and efficiency [5].

Against this backdrop, Winsun, a construction company based in China, has dedicated itself to developing and utilizing 3D printing technologies in the pursuit of efficient, safe, and sustainable construction.

How to build a house in one day

Yingchuang Building Technique (Shanghai) Co. Ltd, or Winson as it is known in China, was founded in 2003. The company started out as an advanced building material supplier, specializing in complex interior décor. The company made headlines globally in 2014 by printing a batch of ten complete houses. Since then, the company has conducted several bold projects that received widespread media attention, such as printing a stylish office building for the Dubai Future Foundation (Figure 1). It has continued to develop technologies in 3D printing, and now owns 151 patents [6].

Figure 1: Winsun’s 3D printed office for Dubai Future Foundation, inaugurated on May 23, 2016
(Source: Winsun’s website)

Using its 3D printing technology, Winsun has increased productivity and realized significant cost savings. It claims that a standard house can be built for about 30,000 RMB (USD $4,800) in one day [7]. Using a closed loop concept, it can source 50% of the ink material for printing from construction waste or mine tailings, which is environmentally beneficial when compared to traditional construction methods. Furthermore, the printing process minimizes waste from the construction process as Winsun’s modular dry construction method is dust free, which saves Winsun 30-60% of material relative to traditional construction methods [8].

Challenges in scaling up

To date, Winsun has sold more than 100 houses of various types, many of them in Dubai. The Dubai government has also recently contracted Winsun to build 17 office buildings using 3D printing [9]. However, several key challenges has to be addressed in order for the company to achieve its potential.

First, the main barrier facing adoption of 3D printing in construction is the skepticism  of designers, project developers, governments and end-users. In response, Winsun hopes to change the hearts and minds of these stakeholders by investing heavily in producing highly visible complex prototypes. For example, the company is planning to erect a demonstration building more than 100 meters high near Shanghai, with approximately 200,000 square meters of floor space. They have also formed partnerships with several large turnkey construction companies such as AECOM in order to increase the credibility of its technology [10].

Second, there is a lack of clear regulations for 3D printing in the construction industry. The industry abide by a certain set of building codes and procurement standards, and most of these codes and standards make no mention of 3D printing. To address this issue, Winsun is working closely with China’s national construction department to amend existing building codes.


With these challenges in mind, my recommendations are:

  • Shaping the regulatory environment: In addition to working with governments, Winsun should undertake efforts to work with regulatory bodies such as the International Code Council (ICC) in order help shape international building codes and standards.
  • Investment in mobile 3D printing technology: Expand R&D efforts to develop mobile 3D printers for the construction industry. This would enable Winsun to reach smaller, more remote markets which would help increase adoption and potentially develop a licensing business model for Winsun.

Remaining Questions

  • To increase adoption of 3D printing in construction, how might Winsun educate partners (or competitors) across the construction value chain: from architecture, to procurement, to maintenance?
  • Should Winsun continue to focus on its core competency of constructing buildings, or should it expand to other high potential areas of 3D printing, such as industrial goods?

(773 words)


[1] Jamie D., “3D Printing: The Future of Construction”, January 31st 2018, accessed November 2018

[2] Global Construction Outlook to 2022, July 17th 2018, https://markets., accessed November 2018

[3] Laubier R., Wunder M., Witthoft S., Rothballer C., “Will 3D Printing Remodel the Construction Industry?”, January 23rd 2018., accessed November 2018

[4] Hager I., Golonka A., Putanowicz R., “3D Printing of Buildings and Building Components as the Future of Sustainable Construction?”, International Conference on Ecology and New Building Material and Products, ICEMBP 2016, Procedia Engineering 151 (2016) pp 292-299

[5] World Economic Forum and BCG Case Study “Shaping the Future of Construction: Inspiring Innovators Redefine the Industry”, February 2017, accessed November 2018

[6] Winsun Corporate Website , accessed November 2018

[7] “10 Completely 3D printed Houses Appear in Shanghai, Built Under a Day”, April 1st 2014, http://www., accessed November 2018

[8] World Economic Forum Case Study, “Demonstrating the Viability of 3D Printing at Construction Scale”, December 2016

[9] Aldama, Z., “We Could 3D-PRINT Trump’s Wall: China Construction Visionaries Set to Revolutionize an Industry Rife with Graft and Old Thinking”, May 13th 2017, South China Morning Post,, accessed November 2018

[10] Saunders S., “Winsun and AECOM Sign MOU, will Collaborate on 3D Printing Construction and Building Design”, May 21st 2017,, accessed November 2018

Construction 3D printing is waiting for a breakthrough The first construction projects using this technology appeared only in 2014. We are talking, first of all, about the so-called small architectural forms (benches, flower beds, fences).

They never even dreamed about building houses. But already in 2015, the Russian startup Apis Cor made a splash - it printed a whole house in the Moscow region. Since then, news about new 3D printed houses has periodically appeared. However, despite the fact that the technology proved to be very promising in terms of the speed of construction of housing and the reduction in the cost of construction, no mass implementation followed.

Construction is the world's number one market. And, if many technological innovations are being introduced in the field of high-rise construction, then little has changed in the field of low-rise construction over the past decades. The last 30 years have seen the availability of the Internet, mobile phones, mobile internet, robotics taken to a new level, etc., but when you get to a house construction site, you are unlikely to find many technological innovations. Automation is practically non-existent, and manual labor prevails. 2020 was a test of strength for the whole world, and also led to the highest level of inflation, which, first of all, hit the construction market, there was a dramatic change in prices for metals, cement, wood and much more.

This Internet meme shows what happened to the cost of building materials in just a year. And the process is still going on. At the same time, there is a serious rise in the cost of labor, and there is an acute shortage of it. All this leads to a sharp rise in the cost of building houses. No matter how strange it may sound, statistics show that the growth of automation does not occur when everything is fine, but precisely in crisis situations, during increased competition, reduced demand and the need to urgently look for new technologies to increase production efficiency. So it happened this time, and after some stagnation, construction 3D printing received a new impetus for development.

Preparing to write an article, I turned to the founder of Arkon - Boris Kozlov y. Arkon was established in 2020 and is engaged in the production of construction 3D printers, both a workshop type for creating prefabs (prefabricated houses) and a portal one capable of printing a two-story house. I asked Boris the key, in my opinion, question:

- Construction 3D printing appeared in 2014, but no mass introduction of this technology followed in 7-8 years. Why do you think this happened, and why is there a surge of new projects right now?

- It seems to me that the reason is the snowball effect. The technology had to mature, grow from a hypothesis to a pilot implementation, and finally to commercialization and scaling (what is happening now). In addition, it should be borne in mind that construction is one of the most conservative industries, where, unlike even aviation and the automotive industry, there is still an extremely low introduction of digital solutions and automation in the field of the production process itself - the construction itself. The issue of regulation and certification also plays an important role - this process is long and creates an additional lag.

In 2014-2016 the first samples of building 3D printers and prototypes of printed buildings appeared. The concepts of various form factors of construction 3D printers and types of printing materials were tested.

In 2017-2018 in the world, the first notable investments were made in a number of construction 3D printing start-ups. Further, by 2020, these investments "rolled" in the form of reaching a certain level of technology maturity - the first commercial products (3D printers and houses) appeared.

Finally, in 2020-2022 it became clear that the hypotheses of the effectiveness of construction 3D printing were justified (cheaper, faster, more environmentally friendly), and large investments began in the industry. A striking example is the investment of GE (the French division of General Electric) in the Danish COBOD or the achievement of a capitalization of $ 2 billion by the American company ICON.

In 2022-2023 over 1,000 buildings will be printed worldwide already, scaling from single buildings/pilot projects to entire villages and major infrastructure/reinforced concrete implementations. In addition, in a number of countries, by now, a regulatory framework has been created or is being actively created for the introduction of additive technologies in the construction industry.

Thus, I believe that the specified time period is a fairly natural cycle of technology development, which is likely to experience exponential growth in the next decade.

According to ResearchAndMarket report, the global construction 3D printing market is valued at USD 354.3 million in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 11068.1 million by 2027, growing by 99.04%.

Various market processes affect the prices and behavior of participants in the global 3D construction printing market. They create price signals that are the result of changes in the demand and supply curves for a product or service. They can be associated with both macroeconomic and microeconomic factors. Even human emotions can also drive decisions, influence the market, and create price signals.

Now let's take a quick look at what the construction 3D printer is. Without delving too deeply into the technology, we can say that construction 3D printers are very similar to classic FDM/FFF printers that print with plastic, but instead of plastic, the material here is a cement mixture, which is fed directly into the nozzle and forms an object by layer-by-layer overlay. Printers are also portal, on the basis of a flying boom, with a robotic arm.

Pictured left is a construction printer based on a boom. The figure on the right is a gantry construction 3D printer

In the figure above, a construction 3D printer in the form of a robot arm installed on a mobile platform.

Everything changed completely when, in the summer of 2021, the American company ICON, which was trying to introduce 3D printing into the construction of various auxiliary facilities, signed a contract with one of the largest American developers, Lennar, to build a village of 100 houses in Texas and immediately became a unicorn , having received 200 million dollars of investments from several investment funds.

Pictured is a 3D printed house in Austin, Texas. A 3D printed house in Austin, Texas.

At the same time, the Danish company COBOD, created by the world's largest construction formwork company PERRI, began selling its gantry 3D construction printers and participating in construction projects around the world. In the photo below, a modern two-story house built in Germany and a school building in Malawi, built in record time with a minimal budget.

Few things unite developed, developing and poor countries, everywhere their problems and tasks, but Affordable housing shortage is a global agenda . If in poor countries there is an acute problem with the increase in the number of homeless people due to a lack of housing, as such, then in developing countries it is necessary to dramatically accelerate the number of new housing being built to meet the needs of a growing population. In developed countries, the problem is primarily in the cost of housing, which has risen in price to such an extent that it has become practically inaccessible to young people. And with the simultaneous increase in life expectancy in these countries, this problem is only getting worse.

At the same time, the trend towards "green agenda " is developing, reducing CO2 emissions, building with more environmentally friendly materials, etc. But, unfortunately, so far the construction industry is the absolute leader in CO2 emissions, as well as in the amount of garbage that each construction site leaves behind. This is not to say that construction 3D printing solves all these problems, but at least it is moving in the right direction. Let's look at this with a few illustrative examples.

3D printed walls.

Today, when we talk about 3D printing houses, we are talking about printing walls. Everything else (foundation, windows, doors, ceilings and roof) is done in the traditional way. 3D printed walls are built as fixed formwork, which significantly saves the amount of cement used , and this, in turn, reduces the cost of construction and reduces the environmental impact of cement production. In addition, with this method of construction, no additional waste is produced, the strength of the structure does not suffer. It can be reinforced, as shown in the photo on the left, and engineering communications can be immediately laid, as shown in the photo on the right, which also affects the final speed of the construction of the object. At the same time, the total weight of the structure is reduced, the remaining cavities can be filled with lightweight foam concrete, insulation, straw or any other available material. Such a lightweight design can use a lighter foundation. The construction method itself is more economical in terms of material, and therefore environmentally friendly.

Eco-concrete with the addition of polymers is being actively developed, the production of which reduces CO2 emissions from 30% to 100%. The Apis Cor company mentioned at the beginning of the article, which built a house in the suburbs in 2015, is now based in hot Florida, plans to start using this material in its projects.

Another startup from Russia, Mighty Buildings, headquartered in California, initially relied on a polymer with the addition of mineral chips. And while the company doesn't build entire homes, it only makes wall panels, it has won numerous design awards, as well as a $400 million valuation in several investment rounds.

As a result, with a rough calculation, we can say that the total savings on the construction of walls can reach 30%, and the total cost of the house can be reduced by 10%. This is true for houses designed for conventional construction. And if you initially design with 3D printing, you can improve this ratio by optimizing the laying of communications, the ability to immediately print interior walls, bookmark niches for bathrooms, fireplaces, built-in wardrobes and kitchens, as was done in the house built by COBOD in Germany.

"There are spots on the sun." Despite all the advantages of construction 3D printing, has several significant disadvantages of . The main one is layering, which cannot be avoided at the current level of technology development.

The photo above shows the layering of the 3D printed walls.

This task can be worked in several directions:

  1. Ribbed walls can be plastered, painted and played with as a design element. That's how ICON does it in the US, for example their latest project House Zero is done that way and has won a number of design awards.

3D printed House Zero in the USA, built by ICON.
  1. Use special "shutters" on the print head that allow smooth layers, as COBOD and other manufacturers do. The photo below shows that this does not ensure the complete absence of layering.

  1. Fully sand the surface to get the usual smooth wall for plastering, painting, wallpapering or other finishing. It is possible, but it will require huge labor costs, which can reduce the overall efficiency of using 3D printing.

Pictured above is a 3D printed wall sanded smooth.

The second problem is the required temperature. Ideally, printing should take place at temperatures between +5C° and +30C°. Humidity is also important. Using additives, you can push these boundaries, but not indefinitely. At strong sub-zero temperatures, printing will be possible in the field only if the construction site is covered with a dome and the required temperature is reached inside with the help of heat guns. In conditions of intense heat, it is preferable to print at night. Another solution could be to print the wall panels in the shop and assemble them on site. Of course, each of these decisions will have a negative impact on the economic efficiency of the project.

Building 3D printing can be useful not only for the construction of houses . With its help, you can solve many other problems, and there its disadvantages will not matter. For example, the American concern GE uses COBOD printers to build towers for wind turbines in the shop. Ribbed surface and temperature restrictions in this case do not play any role. Construction takes place in the shop, after which the object is transported to the installation site.

3D printed wind tower. 3D printed wind tower.

Construction 3D printing, or, as it is also called, additive construction, has just appeared, and I want to believe in its bright future. There are many prerequisites for this, but a lot still needs to be done for success. First of all, it is necessary to develop principles for designing houses for building 3D printing. Then it is necessary to attract top architects to create landmark projects, which can be followed by the mass introduction of a new and very promising technology. Construction 3D printing could help solve the global housing shortage and bring more automation to other areas of construction.

Alexander Kornveits

Expert in the field of additive technologies and 3D printing, head of Tsvetnoy Mir company

3D printing becomes in demand in various fields

. Several trial shots were fired from the weapon. American politicians have become alarmed and are already sounding the alarm, demanding a ban on the manufacture of weapons on 3D printers. After all, Wilson showed that, in principle, anyone can easily stamp such pistols, it is enough to buy a "printing" apparatus and a computer program that he developed.

Enthusiasts generally predict a fantastic future for 3D printing: the technology promises a revolution in many sectors of the economy, will lead to the third industrial revolution, profound changes in the entire life of society. Isn't it surprising that any person can make any thing at home according to his own taste.

What is the point of 3D printing? Today, the main method of manufacturing products is mechanical processing: everything superfluous is cut off, knocked out, drilled, etc. Up to 80-90 percent of materials go into shavings, a large amount of energy is consumed. The creation of a three-dimensional product is quite another matter, when with the help of a "printing" head, executing the commands of a computer program, the material is built up layer by layer until the structure acquires a given shape. This is somewhat reminiscent of squeezing the gel out of a tube or cream with a syringe. When the layer hardens, the next one is applied. Moreover, the product is immediately ready, it does not need to be assembled, all the details are in place. The material for such a printer can be polymers, metal powders, cement, sand, glass, ceramics, rubber, non-ferrous metals, composites, etc.

The advantages of the new technology are obvious: no waste, efficiency, speed, the ability to make the most complex parts in hours. But that is in the future as technology improves. So far, it has a number of disadvantages, in particular, it has low productivity, it cannot be used to create products with built-in electronic circuits, since the use of high temperature to solidify the layers burns out the electronics.

These problems are currently being tackled in the world's leading laboratories. And progress is fast. With the help of 3D printing, unique jewelry is already being made, shoes are being modeled, it has found its way into architecture and construction, in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries. For example, the famous companies Boeing and General Electric have already begun to use 3D printing in a number of their industries. This is especially true for parts for unmanned aircraft. And British scientists have already tested the world's first printed drone. European aerospace concern EADS has created a nylon bike that you can ride.

But, perhaps, this method is most widely used today in dentistry and orthopedics to create implants. By the way, such "prostheses" are already much cheaper than those made using traditional methods. So, an 83-year-old resident of Holland was implanted with a titanium jaw printed on a printer, and in Germany, surgeons replaced 75 percent of the skull with a plastic prosthesis made on a 3D printer.

Princeton University scientists 3D printed an ear out of calf cells, a polymer gel and silver nanoparticles. It is able to perceive radio waves that are outside the range of human hearing. The ear can be directly connected to the neurons of the brain. But science goes further. A 3D bioprinter has already been created that can print human tissues from stem cells, and in the future, scientists intend to grow whole organs in this way.

3D printing has also entered the fashion world. At this year's Paris Fashion Week, the main sensation was dresses of stunning complexity made from a new experimental material. The accuracy of the lace seamless structure can only be ensured by 3D printing.

The world's first 3D printed violin became a real sensation. It was created by American Alex Davis. Of course, this is not a Stradivarius, but for a homemade musical instrument it is quite good. And enthusiasts of new technology are looking forward to another sensation, which this time should happen in construction. Already by the end of this year, scientists intend to print a building about three meters high in Holland. To do this, a huge 3D printer is created, resembling an overhead crane. The walls will be built with the help of a machine from ceramic material in layers, and immediately taking into account all communications: electrical wiring, ventilation, sewerage.

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