3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) refers to an innovative technology that uses software to control the placement of materials to build a 3D structure without the need for standard formwork. COBOD 3D printers are available in 6 continents of the world excluding Antarctica.
3DCP promises to enable the production of complex geometries in a fully-automated setup while delivering advantages such as material savings, greater efficiency in the production of complex concrete products, and architectural design freedom.
The machine can print a three-bedroom home in about two weeks inclusive of machine setup and removal. Setting up the COBOD 3D printer takes up to two days and removing it takes one day or less.
The printers require three phase power which means they generally need to be run off an onsite generator.
It is anticipated that 3D printed walls will perform better than current standard brick veneer. You can print varying wall thickness and cavity widths to suit a predetermined volume of insulation.
Given that concrete is one of the most produced materials in the world, second only to water, we already understand its resilience and suitability for use in the built environment. 3D printed structures will provide similar levels of resilience which Fortex will have evidence to support upon completion of our testing phase.
Printable concrete requires 200 L of water per cubic metre to produce. Daily wash up procedure requires a further 100-200 L of water to keep the pump, hose, batch plant and print head in optimal working condition and ready for the next print day.
We are looking at alternatives to traditional cement, and expect to use a high percentage of substitutes to Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) as the binder to be used for our initial proof of concept. While the CO2 contribution for this generic mix will be significantly less than the current standard, we believe significant further improvements will be made. Through relationships with our material partners, we will continue to develop and improve the environmental attributes of our mix designs.
Printing with cement does not produce any volatile organic compounds (VOC’s).
Currently, you cannot print when it’s raining heavily. We are in conversations with COBOD International about creating a solution for such conditions.
Included in the printer price is a complete printer with all the necessary parts to print:
After buying a printer we also provide a year of technical support with a total of 5 years hotline support. Also, printers are inclusive of COBOD slicer software, which is updated free of charge for a minimum of 3 years.
To print, you will need a pump and a batch plant (concrete) or a mixer (mortar), and a silo for the materials storage, which you can also purchase from us. If we supply these, we will ensure integration between batch plant, pump and printhead, which is digitally controlled, such that the feeding of the materials to the print-head is predominantly managed by the printer itself. Feeding of raw materials into the batch plant requires the use of an excavator.
There are no hard requirements regarding options or upgrades, however, we recommend the following:
Yes, it is possible to add modules as the printers are modular, and they can be upgraded at a later time date to an extent. In addition to the new modules that have to be ordered, you may need to extend or replace the wiring loom to accommodate.
You need a flat and level surface to mount the printer. It can be installed either on pre-made concrete blocks / feet or can be mounted on an existing concrete slab or pad footings. Depending on the construction method, it is possible for the printer to print the perimeter formwork for the slab.
It is important to clean the printer (wash out the concrete) after each print, as well as the parts where the machine interacts with concrete. Typical daily cleaning takes 20-30 minutes.
Maintenance and cleaning schedules are found in the user manual, which we provide to our customers. The manual is more than 50 pages long with all the necessary information and detailed descriptions. Fortex suggests an annual service to keep the machine in optimal working condition.
Fortex is the exclusive distributor of COBOD 3D printers in Australia, not a construction company— meaning we are unable to print your home for you.
As soon as our printers arrive in your area, we’ll connect you with the first residential building company that begins utilising our 3DCPs so that you can begin your discussion with them.
This topic is covered in detail during training when you receive your printer. The process will vary from project to project, but a standard building will consist of:
Wall finishes are completely up to you. The walls can have a natural textured finish derived from the layering from the print head or a flap can be affixed to the print head to smooth the wall finish. For even smoother walls, they can be plastered, and can be painted or rendered directly onto the printed surface. It is completely your choice how the finished walls should look. As with any other masonry structure, other cladding types can be directly fixed to 3D printed concrete walls in the case that a mixture of building materials is required to achieve design criteria.
Additive manufacturing and 3D printing are often used interchangeably, but they are not precisely the same thing.
Additive manufacturing is a broader term for any process that creates a physical object by adding material layer by layer; 3D printing is a specific type of additive manufacturing that uses a digital file to create a three-dimensional object.
While 3D printing is a subset of additive manufacturing, not all additive manufacturing is 3D printing.
For sales enquiries or to learn more about Fortex and 3D construction printing, please fill out your details and our team will be in contact with you as soon as possible.