Construction technology

What you need to print a building?

To print a building or a structure the following is required: construction 3D printer, automated mortar preparation and feeding unit and mobile silos, accessories (ties, inserts, fittings and other accessories), electrical connection or autonomous generator of electricity, water supply, truck crane arm with capacity up to 3 tons to install and move the 3D printer on site.

Do I need to specially prepare the building site and printer placement site?

Construction site is leveled with standard construction equipment. Printer installation sitу does not require special preparations. 3D printer is placed directly on the soil surface and is automatically aligned horizontally. Before the works start the 3D printer automatically scans the surface of the terrain, and then prints a permanent formwork to compensate for differences in height of up to 10 cm. Learn more here

Do I need to fix the equipment to the ground in the construction process?

No, the 3D printer has an active stabilization system implemented as two counterweights which allow the printer mass centre to remain at rotation axis at all times.

What can be printed with a 3D printer?

Construction 3D printer can print the internal and external walls of buildings and other vertical fencing structures, permanent foundation formwork, precast-monolithic slabs, as well as a variety of structures and small architectural forms, such as columns.

How to extract the 3D printer after it has completed printing?

3D printer can be extracted from a building by a crane manipulator with lifting capacity up to 3 tons of cargo. If the layout of the building does not allow the printer to go into the folded state, then it can be removed using a crane. Using the crane the equipment is mounted on the intermediate floors of the building, with flooring being strictly ferro-concrete, and continue printing the next floor, pre-determining the printer location by the corner markers in automatic mode.

How to print the second and subsequent floors of the building?

Using the crane the equipment is mounted on the intermediate floors of the building, with flooring being strictly ferro-concrete, and continue printing the next floor, pre-determining the printer location by the corner markers in automatic mode.

Do I need a follow-up treatment of building structures after printing?

We have achieved high-quality surface of the building structure, obtained in the process of 3D printing. The junction between the layers is almost negligible, the surface of the walls requires only the application of the finishing putty for further painting or wallpapering.

How is the printing of the window and door openings done?

For the installation of jumpers on the windows and doorways ready-made reinforced concrete bridge or a temporary wooden frame may be used, but jumpers should be properly reinforced. Jumper installation can be carried out simultaneously with the printing process.

How is the horizontal and vertical reinforcement installed?

Reinforcement of the foundation is carried out by the standard technology. Universal ties are used for permanent formwork, which is very convenient to stow reinforcement rods. In the corners of the building outer connection are made to tie the structure to the monolithic column.

Horizontal reinforcement of walls is made by laying the standard metal reinforcement between the layers on every 600 mm in height.

Vertical reinforcement is installed in the corners of the building after the column forms printing  is finished, columns are subsequently filled with heavy concrete. Special armatures are used to ensure proper alignment of reinforcement (Pic. 1, 2, 3). Upon completion of each floor print the seismic belt is poured in.



How is the thermal insulation and sound insulation installed?

The walls are made with 3D printer are insulated similarly to the walls made of other materials, for example, with ventilated facades. It is also possible to print an additional chamber and fill it with foam insulation (Picture 1).

The connection of 3D printer on a construction site?

To ensure the work of construction 3D printer Apis Cor at the construction site it is necessary to provide water supply and connection to the mains or generator, voltage - 380V. Consumption of electric power is 8 kW.

How many people are needed to monitor the work of 3D printer?

To control the operation of the construction 3D printer Apis Cor only two people are required - the operator and an expert accompanying the process of printing.

How much time is required for the installation and configuration of the 3D printer?

If the construction site is fully prepared (leveled flat with special equipment, supplied with water and power supply), the installation of construction 3D printer is 30 minutes.

Is there any construction waste remainig at the construction site after the operation of the equipment?

In the process of 3D printing of buildings and structures using construction 3D printer Apis Cor there are no debris or waste, remnants of lumber and concrete blocks used for formwork etc. that would require removal and disposal.

How is the printing mix supplied for printing?

Construction mixture is automatically fed into mobile automated mix and supply unit (MAU). The MAU mixes the dry mix with water in the required proportions, and then the prepared solution from the unit is supplied in the 3D printer. The whole process takes place automatically without human intervention. The only thing that is necessary to control the remaining amount of dry mortar in the mobile silo.

How is the cleaning of the equipment done?

The extruder must be disconnected and washed with water. Solution feed hoses are cleaned with a special wash ball and water. The mobile automated mix and supply unit (MAU) is cleaned automatically.

What special equipment is needed to move the 3D printer?

To install and move the 3D printer on the construction site the crane arm on the basis of a motor vehicle with load capacity up to 3 tons of cargo is required.

Questions about the project of future building.

To initiate the printing process a 3D model in CAD or other similar building design format is used. Apis Cor software uses this model to generate control code for the 3D printer. With the equipment comes an album of technical solutions and other specific documents required for the project development by any architect or design company.

In what climate conditions can printer operate?

The temperature range within which the equipment operates depends on the operating temperature range of concrete solution, which the 3D printer uses. In addition, it is prohibited to perform works at a wind speed of 15 m/s, pouring rain, which causes blurring of the newly printed layer, as well as conditions precluding visibility within the scope of work.

Is it possible to print slanted building structures?

While using the Apis Cor 3D printer it is possible to print a design with a max deviation from the vertical axis up to 15 degrees.

Is it possible to print below the level at which the 3D printer is installed?

The current version of the Apis Cor construction 3D printer compensates for the earth's surface topography variations in the range of 100 mm. below the level at which the 3D printer is installed.

What if the wall is above the max height of the 3D printer, for example, with a pediment?

In this case, you can print the item, in this case, the pediment, on the ground, and then mount it with the use of construction equipment on the main structure.

Do I need supports for the building structure to be printed?

The consistency of the concrete used for 3D printing does not allow it to flow and deform under the weight of the upper layers, which allows continuous printing. During the printing process printer creates a self-supporting construct that requires no supports or any other retaining structures.

What is the solidification time for the printed structures?

Setting and hardening concrete solution used for 3D printing, takes place within no more than 30 minutes, while the consistency of the solution does not allow it to flow and deform under the weight of the upper layers, which allows to print continuously. The time required for curing to 100% of the nominal strength value is 28 days.