Minnesota man 3-D prints a castle; livable two-story home up next

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Andrey Rudenko printed a castle.

The Shorewood man who four months ago said he wanted to 3-D print a two-story house in Minnesota took an important, medieval-influenced trial step this summer by becoming the first person in the world to 3-D print a castle.

"Finally, it stands!" Rudenko wrote on a totalkustom.com post, his company's website.

"A new era of architecture is inevitable, and I’m excited to see where the next few years will lead in terms of construction and design," he wrote. "I have previously been sure I could print homes, but having finished the castle, I now have proof that the technology is ready."

The technology is a custom-built machine that evenly and consistently squirts out a fast-drying concrete mixture. It's like a large tube of toothpaste being squeezed in a precise pattern over and over, the new layer of the material covering the just-hardened layer beneath it until the structure reaches the desired height. See the video below for an example.


Rudenko created the machine himself, WCCO reports, using steel rails, chains and motors.

The castle

The castle is believed to be the first 3-D printed concrete castle in the world.

Printing it in his Shorewood backyard took about three months, the Star Tribune reports, after heavy rain and grappling with the emerging technology created delays.

The final result is a castle that's about 12 feet high, with a 10x16-foot base, Gizmag says.

The windowed walls and doorway were all printed at the same time, while the architectural flourishes – the turrets, the pointed tower – were printed separately and lifted on to the structure afterward (which Rudenko later called a "bad idea" because of how hard they were to move manually). The two-story livable house, he says, will be printed completely as one unit, roof an all.

Rudenko got some help from a few people for the castle, specifically James Newton (who helped with some of the technological software hoops) and Mikhail Tikh (who put together the 3-D model of the castle). The concrete layers he used are 10 millimeters high by 30 millimeters wide (about 0.4 inches by 1.1 inches).

Check out a sizable photo gallery of the castle here.

3Dprint.com calls the results "breathtaking," and wonders whether Rudenko can reach his goal before New York architect Adam Kushner does. Kushner is hoping to print a 2,400-square-foot home (including a swimming pool) early next year.

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Getting to the house

The process started two years ago, and on his blog Rudenko details the progression. He first built a small plastic one, upgraded to a larger one that uses a concrete mix, formulated the right combination of ingredients for that mix, played with the height and width of the paste strands; now he has it at a point where the next step means attempting to achieve his original goal of printing a two-story house from scratch.

Rudenko tells Gizmag it will include a fireplace, kitchen island, staircase foundation, columns and interior walls.

He's soliciting offers, trying to put together a team of companies and individuals to help get it started. He needs an open lot to print the abode, starting this fall and running 24 hours a day until it's finished. It likely won't be in Minnesota, as the weather needs to be warm enough for the concrete to dry as quickly as needed. A permit to legally print the house is also needed.

Rudenko tells the Star Tribune the housing market would get a big boost – a 3-D printed house would be cheaper than traditional houses and also recyclable, and wouldn't require an extensive amount of manual labor.

Keep an eye on his progress by checking out his Twitter and the Total Kustom Facebook.

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