3D printing is becoming ubiquitous. With a tabletop unit and a little patience, anyone can peer through an observation window, staring in wonder as a figurine or prosthetic hand takes shape, layer by layer. But what about a building? Apis Cor has pulled off quite the feat by 3D printing a house in less than 24 hours.

Employing a compact system, the company printed a 400-square-foot (37 m²) abode with a concrete slurry—completely on-site in Russia—for less than $11,000.

As stated by inventor/founder Nikita Chen-yun-tai, Apis Cor wants to disrupt the norm by making construction “fast, eco-friendly, efficient and reliable.” Printing posits intriguing possibilities, including all sorts of intricate forms and shapes normally too expensive to build or wildly unattainable through traditional methods.

The standard argument against printing construction has come down to mobility. Up until now, the process has been limited to off-site facilities, the use of massive equipment, additional transportation & assembly costs and building-dimension restrictions.

Apis Cor 3D Printing in Action (Courtesy of Apis Cor)

3D Printing in Action (Apis Cor)

This compact, mobile approach has the potential for wide use, but urban areas may especially benefit from the cost-effectiveness and versatility of additive manufacturing.

With the advent of mobile printing, this process could allow for construction in virtually any space and shape, while reducing cost and providing an affordable, sustainable building alternative.

In January of 2015, the Chinese firm WinSun unveiled a 5-storey printed building, the first of its kind. The company also claimed to have previously erected 10 structures within a 24-hour period, using an enormous 500-foot-long rig.

Through a compact and portable printer, Apis Cor is attempting to set a new standard. Just like tabletop units, the goal is to make the process accessible to all. Only time will tell, however, whether mobile printing is the innovation the world has been looking for or just another passing novelty.