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Chinese company prints villa and six-story building

Staff writer |
3-D printing technology is revolutionizing the way houses are built. A stand-alone villa and a full-sized, six-story building that had been created by 3-D printers were shown at the Suzhou industrial park in Jiangsu province.

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"3-D technology has integrated the traditional processes of building a house, which helps improve work efficiency, shorten the time scale and save costs," said Ma Yihe, who developed the printers used to build the houses.

Ma, who is also president of the Shanghai Winsun decoration and design company, said 3-D printing technology helped save 30 to 60 percent on building materials and 50 to 80 percent in labor.

He said the villa, which covers 1,100 square meters, will be sold for more than 80 million yuan ($12.8 million), while its printing cost was just over 1 million yuan.

The printers, measuring 32 meters long, 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters tall, created the houses by adding the materials layer by layer.

"All the printing materials are from construction waste, industrial waste or tailings," Ma said. "What we do is turn the waste to our advantage. Besides that, the new technology doesn't produce any more waste. The whole process has played a role in improving the environment."

Ma has been exploring 3-D printing technology for the construction industry for 12 years.

"We have done a lot of safety tests on these houses, and there is no need to worry about the safety issues," Ma said.

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