BigDelta WASP 12MT

A Giant 3D printer resulted from a research project in the field of sustainable housing construction with locally available materials and low costs. This has been WASP’s primary objective since the very start.



The 3D world-highest printer – 12 m. high – projected to build houses, now has become a realty  and an Italian reality from WASP.  The BigDelta configuration is in fact 12 m. high and 7 m. wide , assembled with 6 m. modular arms.  All the machine-components have a maximum length of 3 m. so that they can be easily loaded  on a trailer and transported.

The  BigDeltaWASP 12m  works with 220 volts but it can work with 60 volts too, because the engines and the electronic parts have been realized to be powered by solar panels. Three countermeasures reset weights involved, in this way the machine becomes a balanced system. This allows to reduce a lot the consumption, keeping them round 1 kilowatt. Although each engine, the extruder-one inclusive, are 400-watt engines, they never work using te same power.

The BigDeltaWASP 12m can move the extruder with a cargo from 0 to 200kg therefore moving big quantities of material. The only reason why we suggest to reduce the weight round 40-50 kg is to reduce vibrations.

Even though the materials that can be extruded are several, the extruder has been studied  to work with blends containing long fiber-materials. The reason of this choise is our project-heart: since the beginning we have been longing to extrude terrain and straw. So, it is not necessary to mince in smaller pieces the fiber, on the contrary it woks better when long.

We  have experienced the usage with other inert materials too.

There are two possibilities: we can use raw materials of natural origin or specific techincal materials. For what concerns, raw terrain, it can be lightened with vermiculite or other natural light materials.

The sintetical or technical mixtures can be composed by cement materials based on lime together with or blown-glass either expanded clay. Very good result has been obtained adding polystyrene  to  the cement. This solution makes the mixture very light and reduces the costs, what we have not examined yet,  is the impact that this solution may have on the environment.

It’s much easier to use synthesis-materials  or technical materials than natural  mixtures  because they are still to be fully discovered.  Even though our application field is adressed to the second ones:  we are testing clay or straw blends  with the addition of hemp  or hemp derivates; or with the addition of blown materials  (really odd is the application in which we add  pop-corn inside the  mixture to create air bubbles).

Fino ad ora abbiamo lavorato con una velocità massima di 400 mm/s. La rapidità di stampa dipende anche dalla quantità di materiale presente dentro l’estrusore. Il tema cruciale per quanto riguarda questa macchina non è la velocità ma l’accelerazione, anch’essa inversamente proporzionale al peso dell’estrusore. La possibilità di aumentare l’accelerazione richiede l’utilizzo di pompe esterne che azzerano il carico della macchina, rifornendo continuativamente l’estrusore di materiale.

The BigDeltaWASP 12m is suitable to print  materials taken from the origin place and this opens the way to a series of innovative applications ,   considering  both the house-building  and the recovery of archeological rests or ruins.

270 centimetres of straw+clay wall have been printed; its diameter is 5 m. and 40 tons of mixture have been used. The total layers are 135, with an average weight of 300 kg each, average time to build a layer: 20 minutes. For what concerns the consumption: 2 cubic metres of water and 200 Kwh . Let’s talk about costs: 32 € for the energy employed, 3 € for the water, 10 € for the straw, 3 € for the petrol of the motor-hoe; in total 48 €. Do you want to spare more? If you use your feet to mix, you can reduce the costs of 90%.

Giant 3D Printer

A 3D printer resulted from a research project in the field of sustainable housing construction with locally available materials and low costs. This has been WASP’s primary objective since the very start.

the History


The Project

Il progetto WASP (World’s Advanced Saving Project) nasce nel 2012 e l’obiettivo della ricerca è chiaro fin da subito: costruire una stampante 3D in grado di realizzare case con materiali reperiti sul territorio, con un costo tendente a zero.

La stampante 3D più grande del mondo – ben 12 metri di altezza non è più solo un progetto di ricerca ma una realtà.

the Research



Due to the Delta kinematic that works moving only the extruder, we have low energy consumption and less possibility to wear out the mechanical parts.
Moreover a Delta system it’s perfect to facilitate an easy and speedy assembly of the Big Delta, a printer heigher than 10m that we’ve designed to be assembled without using stairways or scaffoldings, none of this would have been possible with a Cartesian system.

1) the project can be perfectly realized due to the precision of mechanical movements;

2) a customizable designe (architectural shapes designed by geometric modeling softwares);

3) high efficiency and low material consumption (around half less than traditional building methods);

4) fastest-building, we have calculated that 2 men can build a refuge in a week;

5) mixturing straw and terrain, using the extruder designed by WASP, we obtain a fiber-reinforced material like a composite;

6) 3D printing a house is less laborious than traditional techniques;

7) with 3D printing architectural models are improved and become even more efficient sharing knowledge;

8) increasing performances of structural elements filling walls with selected materials (for thermal insulation or other properties);

9) we can create cavity wall, impossible to be obtained with traditional techniques, the aeration canals could be utilized for air-circulation, air-conditioning and air heating system;

10) we’re elaborating a building project for a house against malaria, repelling mosquitoes naturally with essential oils vaporized into aeration canals;

11) the locally obtained printing material could be composed of terrain, or debris of building following an earthquake or natural disasters;

12) WASP’s technology is the best solution for the emergency situations utilizing recycled and minced materials;

It’s important to remind that a new technology opens new horizons and during researching and developing phases no one knows what the future of 3D printing holds. Everyday we have a lot of new ideas.

We took three years of research to build it and now our efforts will turn to the printing house .

The BigDeltaWASP 12m was a fundamental step to take, the innovation that wil make this dream come true. We could have taken less than three years to build it, but let us not forget that our research has been financed through the sale of our compact 3D printers.

The printing of a house with locally sourced materials will be yet another goal achieved through self financing.

The giant BigDelta 12m printer consumes between 1 and 1.5 Kilowatt. One of the biggest issues during the design phase was that of reducing energy consumtion: in order for it to be used in areas of the planet with no electrical grid, it was necessary that it could function with the energy supply of a single solar panel.

BigDelta 12m can extrude fluid-dense materials of any kind. It has been desgined to be able to print materials that are found on location, a mixture of water, soil and vegetable fiber, depending on each territory.

Our giant 3D printer can also print cement, lime based mixtures, sawdust and polystyrene.

The BigDelta 12m can print houses that can be internally armed and refined such as any cement house. Printing the house requires a type of research toucing upon several knowledge bases that are very different form each other, starting for the architectural experience. It will certainly include all the systems that a house needs, but through a more affordable and sustainable approach. We also think of the fact that, along with industrialized countries, we intend to bring this habitative model in the most disadvantaged areas of the planet, where the housing emergency is even more pressing. It will thus be necessary to plan houses with internal systems that can function anywhere, even when there is no hydric or electical grid available.

The demand for this type of housing already exists. We are receiveing requests from many parts of the world. International estimates foresee that the demand for affordable and adequate housing will grow exponentially for the over 4 billion people that live with less than $3,000 a year. The majority of them will not be able to spend more than 10% of their yearly earnings toward their housing needs. To meet this demand, the UN estimate that, over the next 15 years, there will be an average daily requirement of 100,000 new housing units. Furthermore, along with this impelling necessity, the growing population will need to fulfill its alimentary needs even in areas of the planet that are affected by extreme climates or that are subjected to socio-economic stresses.

WASProject feels it is unimaginable to pursue this objective through an unbalanced approach that seeks to exploit the planet rather than through frugal and flexible planning, taking into consideration the entire social context. The heart and mind can rely on 3D printing technology to meet these primary human needs through a sustanible development model.

We expect that it will be used for what it was designed: print 0 Km houses. We are already receiving requests from many areas of the world that we are not yet able to meet.

We envision States, Municipalities and NGO’s that obtain a printer and decide to work side by side for the general well being of the community. The materials and uses that will revolve around the BigDelta 12 m are still awaiting to be discovered, but we find it easy to believe that many enterprises that work on housing components, or restoration and public ventures may develop an interest for it as well.

In the province of Alessandria, in Northern Italy, there are entire buildings that were made of clay over the past centuries and are still habitable. Ait Ben Haddou, a city that is a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been entirely built using raw dirt in the Marroccan inland. When we went to visit it, the guide told us about the minimal maintenance requirements of clay buildings. One curiosity: newlywed couples can choose if they want to receive a green or red clay house as a wedding gift.

Yes, absolutely. Even buildings that are several stories tall could be made of clay. They could have all the comforts of a common cement house. There are many examples, although of course none has been 3D printed. Additive manufacturing technology adds new possibilities to a material that has a long standing tradition. These include doing almost completely away with manual work, offering For example it almost does away with labor, ofers much shorter times and yet unexplored nmeans of architectural expression.

The time necessary to print a house will depend on a series of factors, starting with the materials: using rapid set cement (which does not interest us although our BigDelta is able to print it) times are significantly shorter and it would take only a few hours to build walls that are several meters tall. If, instead, we choose locally sourced materials, such as clay and raw soil, it is necessary to let the material dry out before depositing more of it, in order to keep it from collapsing. For this reason, if we use natural raw materials without additives, a lot depends on the climate. In a dry and mild environment soil dries up much faster. We do not have a precise answer to this question. It could take a day as well as week. Much depends on the in-field variables.