Italy’s World Advanced Saving Project (WASP) made headlines last year after unveiling the world’s largest delta-style 3D printer – a mammoth-like machine standing at 12 meters tall, designed specifically for sustainable and affordable housing, dubbed BigDelta. This week, the Italian innovator behind WASP has announced that their first such home is near completion – and it costs just €48.
“We have already proved that two men and one machine can 3D-print a comfortable and healthy shelter with extremely little money. We are very satisfied of the results, even if we know there is still a lot to do”, says Massimo Moretti, WASP founder and creator of Shamballa Technological Village, where the printer and the 20-square meter circular home lay. Made of mud, clay and some straw for reinforcement, the 2.4 meter high home might not be able to aesthetically compete with modern architecture, but by adopting the principles of biomimicry (the BigDelta, like the mud dauber wasp, chooses mud for shelter for its abundance and natural insulation), the WASP team are perhaps on their way to creating the most sustainable and affordable home on the planet. Their initial analysis of the prototype has so far indicated that the structure is durable and can endure stress without additional support.
More impressively yet is the unbelievably low cost of production: the structure only used 2 cubic meters of water costing €3; BigDelta’s energy consumption was just 200 KwH at just €32; the straw used in the mixture cost €10; gasoline for the motor hoe came in at €3. “Want to save more? [By] using the feet instead of the machine for kneading, the energy consumption lower[s] by 90%,” proudly states WASP’s latest press release.
“When the work starts again, we will raise the wall until 4 meters, then we’ll create the door and build the roof. In the future we will test new materials and continue the research on soil and straw,” reveals Moretti. “New challenges in the improvement of systems for cheap and fast material preparation are coming. The printer is doing its job and after the last changes in kinematics we will modify something in the extruder too. The aim is automating the system and giving the machine the possibility to print a shelter in few days. The goal is just around the corner.”