Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS 3D CONSTRUCTION PRINTING?
3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) refers to an innovative technology that uses software to control the placement of materials in order to build a 3D object or structure without the need for a standard formwork. The most common placement process in 3D concrete printing relies on extrusion of cement-based composites – whether this is a mortar with fine aggregates or concrete with large aggregates. 3DCP promises to enable the production of complex geometries in a fully-automated setup while delivering advantages such as material savings, greater efficiency in the production of complex concrete products, new architectural insights and design strategies.
WHAT 3D PRINTER SUITS MY PROJECT?
Each project may require a different size of 3D concrete printer. For this you need to keep in mind two measures before selecting the 3D printer that fits you the best: Print Area (PA) which is the area size (width x length x height in meters) of building you would like to print. Installation Area (IA) which is the area needed for the BOD2 printer. We encourage you to try out our COBOD Configurator in which you can build your own printer.
HOW QUICKLY CAN THE BOD2 PRINT A STRUCTURE?
Check out our COBOD Configurator for examples of printing time!
How fast you can print a certain structure depends on many factors, such as print/building size, material properties, operation workers’ experience and other project management factors.
It is also important to know about the wall design (single wall or double wall with cavity between the walls).
The printer has a maximum speed of 100 cm/sec. The ability use more or less of the full speed depends on the size of the pump, the materials to be used and other factors. We are regularly printing with a speed of 40 or 50 cm/sec.
Smaller buildings like a 50m2 3D printed house can be printed with our BOD2 3D construction printer in one day.
WHAT OPTIONS OR UPGRADES DO I NEED?
There are no hard requirements regarding the options or upgrades. Yet we recommend the following:
Tangential control (hardware & software) – enabling the print-head to always turn in the print direction. With tangential control square nozzles with flaps can be used to assure vertically more smooth surfaces.
Mixer pump/M-tec Duomix – including automated on/off, 20 meters hose for concrete, used for supplying materials to the printer.
Silo – min 3 m3 used for storing dry mortars/concrete materials
COBOD installation of the printer at customers location COBOD Training (weekly price)
Setup & Maintenance kit – collection of tools to help setting up the printer, includes alignment laser and measure, different types of drill and wrenches to put the pieces together and more.
Printing kit – collection of tools to help with print jobs, includes tools such as spatulas, brushes, hammers, wrenches, print head stands and more.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO ADD MORE MODULES LATER?
Yes, it is possible later on to add modules as the printers are modular, they can be upgraded at a later time. In addition to the new modules that have to be ordered, you will need an entire new and long enough set of cables (normal price around 20.000 euro). That means you can stay up-to-date with our technology.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUILD 2 AND 3 STORY BUILDINGS?
With our BOD2 printer, it is possible to 3D print houses and buildings up to 10 meters (32 feet) in the height, which allows for printing of 3 story buildings. Several 2 story buildings and houses have been 3D printed with our technology – as references, check out Bostock Studio Project and A&D Multi-Family Project.
DO YOU NEED A FOUNDATION FOR THE PRINTER?
Yes, the printer must be installed either on pre made concrete blocks/feet or can be mounted on existing concrete slab.
HOW IS THE PRINTER MAINTAINED, AND HOW OFTEN IS IT REQUIRED?
It is important to clean the printer (wash out the concrete) after each print, as well as the parts where machine interacts with concrete. Typical daily cleaning takes 20-30 minutes.
Maintenance and cleaning schedules are found in the user manual, which we provide to our customers. The manual is more than 50 pages long with all the necessary information and detailed descriptions.
HOW LONG IS THE SETUP TIME OF THE PRINTER?
The time it takes to setup our printer depends on how much experience you have. A well experienced team can setup the printer in less than 4 hours, and even less time when concrete bases are used for the installation. Larger printers (more than 4-5 modules in length and width) naturally require more time.
WHAT IS THE PRINTER’S LIFETIME?
Our BOD2 is the most tested and durable 3D construction printer on the market. At COBOD, we estimate that the BOD2 has a lifetime of 20 years, which is similar to other construction machines. However, it is worth noting that since the technology is still quite new, we have not yet experienced a printer coming to the end of its lifetime, yet.
WHAT IS THE CONSTRUCTION PROCESS WHEN USING A 3D PRINTER?
This topic is covered in detail during training when you receive your printer. The process willvary from project to project, but the standard construction process consists of the following steps:
– Site preparations
– Printer installation
– Printing outline of slab / foundation
– Casting slab / foundation
– Printing walls for ground floor
– Installing deck
– Repeat for multi-story buildings
– Closing the house (roof, windows, doors)
– Finishing (paint, floors, electricity, HVAC)
HOW IS THERMAL INSULATION ACHIEVED?
Thermal insulation depends on two factors:
The thickness of the insulation i.e. the distance between your outer and inner wall. The Lambda value (insulating property) of your insulation material. By combining these two factors you will get an R value, which needs to follow your local building code.
HOW IS PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL INSTALLED?
This will be done manually in the traditional way, however, the printer can help you with preparing for it by leaving holes in the printed walls for electrical sockets, pipes, etc. This is all done in the drawings, and ultimately saves time and costs of the project.
HOW ARE THE WALLS OF A 3D PRINTED HOUSE FINISHED?
The 3D printed walls can be finished just the way you want them. The walls can be plastered and painted like traditional houses and buildings. It is even possible to paint directly on the surface of the 3D printed walls.
Some of our customers actually like the raw look of the 3D printed walls, and therefore choose not to plaster them. By not plastering the walls, it shows the world that the building is in fact 3D printed.
HOW ARE REPAIRS AND MAINTENANCE DONE FOR THE WALLS?
Maintenance and repairs of walls will depend on which material was used for the given project, as well as what surface treatment was used (paint, plaster etc). Remember, the walls might be 3D printed, but they are still regular concrete walls.
DO YOU PROVIDE SUPPORT REGARDING BUILDING CODES?
We do support to the extent it is possible regarding the Canadian building code and the CSA.
HOW ARE WINDOWS AND DOORS INTEGRATED?
Gaps for windows and doors are printed directly from the drawing. After printing, you can insert the type of windows and doors you want. The printer code is adjusted (done with our software) which means the printer stops and gives time to place lintels on which the printer will continue to print.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO FINISH A BUILDING WITH EVERYTHING INCLUDED?
The time it takes to complete a 3D printed house depends on various parameters. It depends on the building’s size, material properties and local environment as well as the experience of the printing team.
Remember the learning to ride a bike analogy again here. The more experienced you are with 3D construction printing, the quicker a project is completed.
WHAT MATERIALS ARE USED FOR THE PRINTER?
The BOD2 is an open source 3D construction printer. It can print with concrete, mortar, or any other printable material. This ensures the most cost-efficient materials, as raw materials can be locally sourced. The cost of the materials depends on your local prices on cement, aggregates, sand, and other chemicals like accelerators. This is depending on your concrete mix design that you want to apply for your projects.
WHAT IS THE CONCRETE/MORTAR SETTING TIME?
The setting time is strongly dependent on weather conditions and your mix design (additive proportions).
We use the term “layer time” to define the time from a layer that has been placed and until a new layer is printed on top. This time can be set in the software and must be adjusted to the specific material used for your project.
At nidus3D we have printed with layer times from 1-20 minutes.
WHAT LEVEL OF MATERIAL GUIDANCE DO YOU PROVIDE POST PURCHASE?
nidus3D provides remote and onsite training sessions on 3D printable materials and material delivery system operations as well as continuous support for clients through all the project phases.
Pricing of Printer
HOW MUCH IS THE BOD2?
Complete our contact form to request a price list of our state-of-the-art 3D construction printing products.
WHAT IS THE SHIPPING COST?
Due to current disruptions in global distribution networks we cannot provide a good, average estimate. Note that all of our offers are ex-works and it is our customers’ responsibility to handle logistics when purchasing a printer. However, we sometimes help to retrieve a quote for you and can connect you with one of our logistics partners.
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF THE PRINTER?
Included in the printer cost is a complete printer with all the necessary parts to print:
– The number of X/Y/Z modules for the specific size ordered
– A fully assembled print head and 1 steel nozzle of 50x20mm
– 2 network cameras to overview the extrusion of material
– Power cable
– External safety and control switch
– After buying a printer we also provide a year of COBOD technical support, 5 years of COBOD hotline support.
Also, it comes with our software, which is updated free of charge, at least for the first 3 years. You can print with the printers as is, as materials can be fed by buckets to the print-head. However, this will be a slow process. To print with speed you will need a pump and mixer, and preferably a silo for the materials storage, which you can acquire at us or elsewhere. If we supply it, we will assure they are delivered with the entire materials flow (from silo over the mixer to the pump and up to the printer) is digitally controlled, such that the feeding of the materials to the print-head is managed by the printer itself and does not require an operator to get involved.
WHAT ARE THE COST BENEFITS OF USING THE BOD2?
There are many benefits to our technology, including cost. The cost advantage mainly stems from the lower labor usage and the faster completion of a project, in addition to assuring fewer mistakes and need for coordination, as the printer takes care of many operations. The speed with which you can print and execute a project will depend on your previous experience. Hence, you will be much more efficient once you have done it a few times. Very similar to how you learned to drive or ride a bike for the first time.
WHAT IS THE DELIVERY TIME?
6 to 8 months of delivery time.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
IS IT POSSIBLE TO RENT A BOD2?
Unfortunately, we do not offer rentals for our customers.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU PROVIDE FOR THE FIRST PROJECT?
We provide support for our customers on their first project. From delivery, we offer 2-year COBOD “hotline” guidance for up to one hour per issue to assist with troubleshooting.
HOW LONG DOES TRAINING TAKE?
As for customers, they can choose to buy one week of training where we come to your site after your purchase and show you how to assemble and mount the printer, show you our slicer and teach you how to prepare the models for slicing. Then we stay with you for 2-3 days and do test prints, so you get familiar with the 3D printer. We have developed our own slicer for the printer. One week of training is usually sufficient, but additional weeks of training can be acquired according to needs.
IS THERE A WARRANTY?
We offer 14 months warranty from delivery and 2-year COBOD “hotline” guidance for up to one hour per issue to assist with troubleshooting. Alterations, additions, and changes to the printer,
which are not approved by COBOD will forfeit the warranty, such changes include the removal or covering of logos and other trademarks on the printer. Operations of the printer in ways and with materials not recommended by COBOD will forfeit the warranty and 2 years of “hotline” support.