It Took 100 Hours to 3D Print This 2-Bedroom Villa

3D Printing & Imaging Workshop
It Took 100 Hours to 3D Print This 2-Bedroom Villa
actual hotel
The Lewis Grand Hotel in the Philippines. Photos courtesy of 3DPrint

Recent trends in additive manufacturing have seen 3D printers evolve from hulking industrial machinery to desktop appliances on par with your inkjet printer. With their modest footprint, these machines are great for printing the odd component or trinket, but there’s a more colossal 3D printing trend looming on the architectural horizon.

The Philippines is now home to the newest addition to the Lewis Grand Hotel, the first-ever 3D printed building that will be put to commercial use. Lewis Yakich, owner of The Lewis Grand, is a native Californian and graduate of UCSB with a background in material science engineering. He says that after extensive research and development, his 3D printed concrete design is structurally sound, and may even be stronger than conventional methods of construction that use hollow blocks. As Yakich told 3DPrint,

The Philippines is actually a great place for concrete printing because of the weather. Currently everything is made out of concrete, and it’s a third world country so it can do a lot of good in disaster zones, etc.

The almost-completed villa
The almost-completed villa

This week, the 1,500 square foot (10.5m x 12.5m x 3m) building was successfully printed after approximately 100 hours of print time. Andrey Rudenko, lead designer for the printer, explains,

We had to stop several times to install plumbing, wiring, and rebars. In the future this can all be done while printing, but for now we took it slow as we were developing a process and doing testing as we went along.

Installing the plumbing

Even without continual printing, the project seems to be sufficiently ambitious. After all, the two bedroom villa comes complete with a 3D printed jacuzzi.

The 3D printer used to construct the building is still being improved upon, but the design is such that it’s simple to set up and break down in different locations, and it already boasts diverse design capabilities. Rudenko says,

The assembly time for the first printer was 2 months, but this can be replicated now within a couple weeks as the assembly process has been worked out. It took approximately 1 month to develop and test the right mix, using local materials. We have sand with volcanic ash here in the Philippines, which is difficult to extrude, but a reliable process was developed and we obtained great results with pretty strong walls and good bonding between layers.

Yakich takes a selfie with his project.
Yakich takes a selfie with his project.

While printing a luxury villa for an upscale hotel is quite the mogul move, Yakich is also planning to use this technology to initiate new ventures in low income housing in the Philippines, where the government has approved him as a qualified builder. He’s already signed a contract to construct 20 homes before the end of this year.

His goal is to print 2,000 homes within two years. While at first this might seem staggeringly ambitious, Yakich estimates that six houses can be simultaneously printed in just one week. By utilizing 3D printing to save 60% on building costs, and by constantly perfecting the construction process, Yakich is in a solid position to make good on his goal.

While the villa still has visibly separate layers, Yakich says he plans to offer future residents of his low income housing the option to smooth out the grooves in their walls, which can be done using a hopper during the printing process.

Be sure to check out the video below to see the printer in action. Would you want to stay here on vacation?


[via 3DPrint]

19 thoughts on “It Took 100 Hours to 3D Print This 2-Bedroom Villa

  1. Scott Tuttle says:

    I wonder how well a monolithic structure like that will handle temp changes, foundation shifting, etc. I foresee lots of cracking in the real world.

    1. Witchwindy says:

      Perhaps not, if they figure out how to use hempcrete instead of concrete.

    2. James Newton says:

      How is it any different from traditional brick or concrete block buildings?

      1. Scott Tuttle says:

        they have mortared joints that are repairable. it might be fine but time will tell. I’d have to assume the geniuses building this took that kind of stuff into consideration if they’re really dedicated to doing it right.

        1. brucej says:

          This also isn’t too different from shotcrete, either, and that’s been used in a lot of different environments. With the proper rebar setup this should be very durable.

    3. brucej says:

      Ehh, this isn’t unlike current practice with slab construction, and pre made forms like this

      Properly made these are pretty resilient.

  2. nootropicdesign says:

    I know the guy who built the control box and it contains my Digit Shield for Arduino product. (in Maker Shed: )

  3. James Newton says:

    Wow. Not sure what he is running at this point, but the original version of that concrete 3D printer was running a stepper motor driver that I helped design (open source) and that Andrey purchased from me.

    1. Dan Dascalescu says:


    2. James Newton says:

      “His big printer needed big NEMA34 stepper motors, far beyond the current capacity of the stock RAMPS stepper drivers. [Andrey] got in touch with [James] at MassMind who helped him with an open source THB6064AH based driver. [James] even came up with an adaptor cable and PCB which makes the new drivers a drop-in replacement.”

      1. Greg Way says:

        maybe you could promote yourself a couple more times in this short thread [James] :p

    3. James Newton says:

      ‘For a big printer, I need special drivers that can handle the heavy weight of the machine as well as be compatible with the software/firmware. The best fit I found was from James Newton’s Mass Mind.’

      ‘These drivers ended up being the only ones to work properly with Marlin Firmware (I sampled other drivers, which failed), and were powerful enough to move such a huge printer.’ Rudenko added.

  4. James Newton says:

    Wow. Not sure what he is running at this point, but the original version of that concrete 3D printer was run by an open source stepper motor driver that I helped design and that Andrey purchased from me.

  5. besommer says:

    For less of a carbon footprint, instead of using Concrete as an additive feedstock, could they use Hempcrete?

  6. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Curious how he makes the ceilings. Probably have to be dome shaped.


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    2. James Newton says:

      In the prior builds, the ceiling (and tops of door and window openings) are supported with metal beams.

  7. Homebuilt says:

    Both the interesting and otherwise impossible geometries, as well as the cavity wall, to me make this example one of the most impressive 3D printed buildings I’ve seen. One can see some of the advantages – beyond cost – of 3D printed housing here. Thank you for sharing…
    – Dennis Michaud

  8. John Rogers says:

    Third world country…. are you shitting me… get your facts straight idiot… the Philippines is not listed anywhere in government stats as a “Third World Country”… and by the way… the cost of transportation, materials, labor and such is almost the same when a “white guy” starts to build in a “Third World Country”… the cost is not zero… it is not “Cheap” it is nearly the same… and it is not built nearly as strong as a professionally built “by hand” home could ever possible be…. it is not the wave of the future, it is a media and scholastic hoax…. get real dipshits….

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

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