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How the world’s biggest 3D printer is inspired by wasps

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Here’s a statistic for you; according to the United Nations, the world’s population is growing at such a rapid rate that there will be a need for 100,000 new housing units…per day.

Luckily for us (and the rest of the world), Italian company WASP, which stands for World’s Advanced Saving Project, has come up with a magnificent way to help alleviate the problem. They’ve come up with the world’s biggest 3D printer, aptly named BigDelta, which can print an entire house.

The idea was inspired by the method used by actual wasps, who make single-chambered, urn-shaped nests from layered tubes of mud. In celebration of this, BigDelta has been developed in a hexagonal form, standing 40-feet tall and measuring 20-feet wide. It features three arms which manage the nozzle that releases all necessary printing materials.

The overarching idea is to be able to provide low-cost housing (we’re talking just a few thousand dollars here) to some of the world’s poorest populations.

BigDelta utilises a mix of what are being labelled ‘close-to-free’ materials including the likes of water, hay and rocks. Massimo Moretti, director at WASP, says that using these materials is crucial in order to build sustainable housing. The company has actually been working on developing 3D printing to help the developing world since 2003, having already created a smaller printer called the Power Wasp. More recently, BigDelta was debuted in Italy where it successfully achieved its goal, building a house big enough to live in.

As things stand, BigDelta is still just a prototype with a fully functional production model expected to be released a few years from now. There’s no doubt that BigDelta is a neccessity given the direction of global populations, so we have our fingers crossed that this becomes a reality sooner rather than later.

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