In 2022 Versiclad was given the opportunity to work with our sister company, Contour 3D, on a truly ground-breaking project – Australia’s first ever 3D printed house.
The team at Contour 3D had spent years developing a printer that could print a building using the latest industry technology and the perfect mortar mix. This innovative building system landed them an invitation to Australia’s most popular renovation series, The Block.
When asked to produce a pool cabana by none other than host, Scott Cam, Contour 3D founder, Nick Holden, said, “We had written the software and done the math and tested everything in the factory, but going out to print a building under the glare of TV cameras was a make-or-break scenario.”
But after 28 hours of continuous printing, the finished product was a huge success. Resident series architect, Julian Brenchley, was asked to oversee the design of the project and explained how the 3D printing technology was able to push the boundaries of a traditional structure, to create truly inspiring forms, “I wanted to explore the possibilities of 3D printing…” says Brenchley, “So we went all out with the forms that are possible with this new technology. For instance, we decided to print the shower area in the round, which not only created a beautiful bathroom but really shows how 3D printing can produce structures that would be enormously expensive and time consuming using traditional building methods.”
However, surrounded by the expansive native forests of Macedon Ranges was not without its challenges, as the winter weather brought about torrential rain and even snow. “This project really tested us on every level…” says Nick Holden “and I am enormously proud of the team. As a ‘proof of concept’ this project has really justified the years of hard work we have all put into it.”
How Versiclad fit in
While the 3D printer produced an architecturally beautiful structure, it was our ever-popular insulated panels that crowned the pool cabana. Our Panelink panels were used as a ceiling/soffit which sat atop the curved walls, creating a space that was sleek in design yet practical and comfortable. The panels were manufactured using COLORBOND® steel in the colour Monument® Matt, which provided a stunning contrast to both the white and raw finishes of the abstract inspired walls.
The contemporary external design displayed a roof made from COLORBOND® steel in the colour Monument® Matt, creating a similar contrast to the raw and textured exterior walls.
“The future of building” – Scott Cam
Holden explained that even with the success of the project, their research would continue in the hope of eventually introducing an element of artificial intelligence which could alter the concrete mix depending on the surrounding conditions. Variables such as weather, time of day, peaks and troughs in temperature would all be taken into consideration when producing the printing material on site.
While 3D printing technology has been around for decades, the application of this technology is just emerging in the building industry. “The building industry is the last to be fully automated using tech such as robotics,” Holden told the Herald, “The industry is still building pretty much the way it did 2000 or 3000 years ago.”
This innovative printing method will revolutionise the building industry, delivering long lasting homes with 100-year life spans, that are built in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost. Holden explains how the 3D printing offers 20 to 30 percent cost reduction in comparison to traditional building methods.
- Contour 3D – https://contour3d.com.au/the-block/
- Sydney Morning Herald – https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/how-a-3d-printer-could-build-your-next-home-20220909-p5bguz.html