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World’s largest 3D printer can print a house in under 80 hours

Published Apr 26th, 2024 1:56PM EDT
world's largest 3D printer, the Factor of the Future
Image: University of Maine

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The University of Maine just revealed the world’s largest 3D printer, and it is an absolute beast. The printer, which the university named Factory of the Future, is able to print objects 96 feet long, 32 feet wide, and 18 feet high. It’s also exceptionally fast, at least compared to other printers out there, and can print roughly 500 pounds per hour.

Another great feature of the printer is the fact that the university says it can dynamically switch between printing techniques to provide the best option for complex jobs. These techniques include large-scale additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing, as well as robot arm operations, and continuous tape layup. For a bit more context, Europe built its biggest 3D-printed building in just 140 hours, so 80 is an improvement, for sure.

What’s even more intriguing about the world’s new largest 3D printer is that it can also print an entire house in roughly 80 hours or less. The resulting house would be a simple one-story home, but considering Main needs to create an additional 80,000 homes before 2030, those single-story homes could help cut that number down drastically.

Further, the creators of the machine say that everything it prints is recyclable, so it could one day be broken down, ground, and reused. That’s a far cry from the waste that the construction industry currently sees, and it could prove invaluable to building entire neighbors in the future.

But the possibilities for the world’s largest 3D printer don’t stop there. The engineers behind the Factory of the Future say that it could also help build vehicles like submarines and other maritime vehicles, as well as military-based vessels. And one senator even called the printer” invaluable to our national security.” That’s all very American, of course.

While it’s hard to deny the possibilities of 3D-printed military vehicles, I’m far more excited about the possibilities that become available for housing the homeless and creating more sustainable housing for people all over the country.

You can see one of the homes that the Factory of the Future’s younger sibling — the previous record holder for the world’s largest 3D printer — was capable of building in the video I’ve embedded above, and the new machine is even bigger, promising even more.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.