If you’re still not excited about the potential of 3D printing, Enrico Dini would like to have a word with you. Dini founded Monolite UK with one goal in mind – to create stone-like structures using a 3D printer. Architects, hold on to your blueprints.
While most 3D printers use plastic materials to build small items, Dini’s own D-Shape printer – the world’s largest 3D printer – uses ordinary sand and a binding material, fusing them together into a sandstone-like product to create large structures, anything from a statue to a house. The structure above is the world’s biggest 3D printed object, a scale model of a sculpture that Dini also plans on printing.
Dini’s approach has groundbreaking advantages. Using his system, a building can either be built part by part offsite or as a whole on the construction site itself. The 3D printer also opens up more possibilities for designers in terms of unorthodox shapes and forms. Unfortunately, Dini has faced a lot of challenges and setbacks while pursuing his dream. Jack Wake-Walker and Marc Webb are now working on The Man Who Prints Houses, a documentary about Dini, chronicling not just the Italian’s revolutionary technology but the drama that it dragged into his life as well.
You can find out more about the D-Shape printer on its official website. Those interested in the documentary can go here for more info. If Dini and his like-minded peers succeed, the future will be extremely convenient – or litigious. We may not have to wait for the products we order to be shipped – shops could just provide us with the schematics for us to print at home. Downloadable games? Pfff. How about a downloadable console? Will Minecraft players be able to print their digital creations in 1:1 scale? The infamous anti-piracy ad also comes to mind. Why steal a car if you could download the necessary schematics and then print it? Only one thing’s for sure: printers still have ridiculously overpriced cartridges.