The 3D printed house

imageuk123 A house made by a 3D printer is no longer just a dream. Did you know the ‘Europa-Haus’ in the Amsterdam Marine Quarter, built for the duration of the Dutch Presidency of the EU, was partly constructed in this way?

Based in Amsterdam, DUS Architects realised the idea of building entire houses in this way could be done with a mobile 3D printer in extra-extra-large (XXL) format. For the construction of the building, the architects worked closely with igus.

It might seem a little far fetched at first glance, but on closer inspection, the building is not only appealing, but has many other benefits. The load-bearing structures are manufactured from biodegradable plastic, which are recyclable. This makes the structure both eco-friendly and sustainable. Also, some of the interior decorations were also 3D printed.

The architects were keen to point out that while pre-fabricated architecture is cost-effective, it can restrict creative design freedom. The structural elements of the façade were 3D-printed, and then concreted into position on-site. This process of construction can also work very well to build new homes in disaster areas.

To transform this idea into reality, DUS Architects founded a separate company called Actual; this enabled the owner to design or select components on a digital platform, which are then manufactured on site using mobile 3D printers.

The first generation 3D printer had a separate room for the control, this limited the part size to a maximum 2.50 x 2.50 x 3.50 metres. There was also need for improvement, both in precision and in the printing speed. So we optimised the design of the mobile 3D printer and developed a linear robot for the print head.

During the planning stages, the engineers used the modular drylin system multi-axis linear robots. They are available as line, flat and room gantries for one, two and three axes, and depart from pre-defined surfaces and spaces. To enable the print head to move precisely, self-lubricated drylin toothed belt units were used. The leadscrew units were used to position the gantry vertically, which integrate drives that provide position detection.

The engineers also supported Actual with integration of the printer, which can now print structural elements of up to 6.50 m. In addition to the linear robots, other parts from igus were included in the construction of the 3D printer, including plain bearings, cable management systems and linear systems.Joe Platt, Head of Mechanical Engineering at Actual, said of the project: “igus gave us excellent support, and the gantry proved to be the best in practice.”

Among the projects being undertaken by Actual at present is the “3D print Canal House”, which is currently being built on a town canal in Amsterdam. The construction site is public and has more than 1,000 registered visitors per month.

For further information about igus, please visit: call igus directly on 01604 677240. Follow us at, watch our videos at, connect with us at


Editor Matthew Aldridge writes:

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting customers in central London, in between meetings I grabbed a sandwich and coffee from a street vendor and sat down on a bench to enjoy my lunch. Two homeless men were on a bench next to me, and I could not help overhearing their loud conversation. They were discussing the excellent quality sandwiches which a well known chain gives out at the end of the day to homeless people. Apparently this company pays a higher hourly rate to London staff than the rest of the UK, but the trade off is that the staff do not get free food. The homeless man was explaining to his friend how he helps a member of staff to save money by circumventing this regulation; he takes two boxes of sandwiches, meets the lady at the end of her shift, and gives one to her.

No such measures are needed to save money when using igus® parts; if you have moving parts on your machine then it is highly likely we can save you money while also increasing the life of your design! Email me with the details of your requirements and, I promise I will give it my urgent attention. This applies to bearings, linear guides, cable chains and flexible cables, the samples are free and you could save a lot of money.

You can also come and see the latest ideas and products from igus® at the Engineering Design Show. This is held once again at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 19th and 20th October, you will find igus® on stand D20, please drop by to see the latest igus® e-chains®, chainflex® cables, and dry-tech® bearings, we will be serving drinks and light refreshments all day every day.

We will also be exhibiting at Advanced Manufacturing at the NEC, Birmingham on 2nd and 3rd November, you will find igus® on stand H40. Again you can see the latest igus® products while enjoying drinks and light refreshments.

Even if you cannot visit these shows, please take time to look at the video at the right where you can get a guided tour through the latest products from igus® released this Autumn.

Best regards

Matthew Aldridge
Matthew Aldridge


igus® to showcase Industry 4.0 solutions at Manufacturing Management Show

At this year’s Manufacturing Management Show, taking place 23-24th November at Ricoh Arena, Coventry, we will showcase our next evolution for motion plastics: Industry 4.0-ready smart plastics. Comprising smart cables, energy chains and linear guides, smart plastics monitor themselves constantly, providing performance data and early warning of critical wear.


igus® UK’s Managing director, Matthew Aldridge, will present a workshop at the show entitled:

on Wednesday 23rd November at 10:15.

About the workshop, he says: “Manufacturing solutions must keep pace with the speed, flexibility and cost-effectiveness demanded by modern smart factories and Industry 4.0 production capabilities. By deploying smart plastics, customers can increase plant availability, maximise uptime and reduce costs through automated condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.”


We will also have on show our drylin W linear guides. Combining extremely high flexibility in design with simple installation, these linear guides offer best-in-class friction and wear resistance. Without the need for lubricants, the system is insensitive to dirt, thereby increasing reliability and reducing maintenance costs. They exhibit low coefficients of friction in dry operation, high resistance to corrosion and wear, and provide for a flexible utilisation of installation space.


Members of the our team will be available on stand F16 to answer questions and demonstrate the potential applications of our bearing products and cable management systems, as well as provide insight into the full range of igus products suitable for their industry and application. For more information, please visit:


To arrange an appointment, please email Megan Campbell: and for further information, please visit: or call igus directly on 01604 677240.Follow us at, watch our videos at, connect with us at and read our blog on


Industry 4.0 solutions at Advanced Engineering Show

We will be showcasing our solutions for demanding moving applications at this year’s Advanced Engineering Show, 2-3rd November 2016, NEC Birmingham.

Whether in the aerospace or automotive industry, when it comes to weight savings, design engineers increasingly rely on carbon fibre. To meet the demands in this field, we have developed a carbon fibre drylin W rail, which will be on display at The NEC, stand H41.

Visitors to our stand will also be able to see new Industry 4.0-enabled technologies and their applications. Smart plastics are an evolution of proven igus cable, energy chain and linear bearing products. Adding embedded intelligence to its motion plastics via the addition of sensing, monitoring and communications, smart plastics allow customers to maximise uptime and reduce costs through condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.

In addition to the above, we will also be exhibiting a comprehensive range of lightweight, maintenance and corrosion-free robotic solutions, including robolink multi-axis joints for robots.

Members of our team will be available on stand H41 to answer questions and demonstrate the potential applications of its bearing products and cable management systems, as well as provide insight into the full range of igus products suitable for their industry and application. For more information, please visit:


Page 6 of 31« First...45678...2030...Last »