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We’ve seen 3D printers before, but none quite this ambitious. Italian inventor Enrico Dini’s D-Shape is on a scale large enough to print entire buildings out of simple components: sand and an inorganic magnesium-base binding material.

The three-dimensional printing apparatus has hundreds of nozzles on its underside, which spray the inorganic binding glue that turns the sand into solid stone and builds up objects in layers from the bottom up. D-Shape can generate a building about four times as fast as the traditional construction method at only half the cost — or less. Less waste left behind also makes the 3D printing process environmentally friendlier than conventional alternatives.

Interestingly, D-Shape’s next challenge might be building moon bases. Its inventor is currently in talks with the European Space Agency about creating a version of the device that could use lunar dust to build structures on the surface of our nearest celestial neighbor.

Although the video below is entirely in Italian, it shows off D-Shape in action — and may well be worth watching for the host’s boots alone. The second video depicts a more straightforward 3D printing process unsullied by Italian boot distractions, wherein a Zcorp Z450 3D printer builds a 1 meter tall statue.

D-Shape in Action

Zcorp Z450 3D printing process


Tags: 3D, 3D printers, D-Shape, Enrico Dini, italy, moon, printers, space