Building a house will become easier with the world's largest three-dimensional printer that can print objects the size of a blue whale.

The machine, which was unveiled at the University of Maine, is called "Factory of the Future 1.0" and is capable of printing objects four times larger and more powerful than the other 3D printer that entered service about five years ago. 

First used in 2019, the original printer was certified by Guinness World Records as the world's largest polymer 3D printer. 

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Features of the new printer

The new printer is said to combine robotic operations with new sensors, high-performance computing and artificial intelligence.

Measuring 29 meters long, 10 meters wide and 5.5 meters high - about the size of a blue whale - the giant printer has a voracious appetite, consuming up to 227 kilograms of material.

According to the United Nations Environment Program, the buildings and construction sector accounts for around 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is largely due to the production and use of materials with a significant carbon footprint, such as cement, steel and aluminum.

On the other hand, the growth in demand for housing, both in the US and around the world, poses a significant challenge. According to a real estate company in the state where the University is located, Maine alone will need 80,000 more homes in the next six years to meet the growing demand for housing.

Researchers at the university who developed the three-dimensional printer hope it will offer a solution to this problem.

Recyclable

"We wanted to build a house where people would say, 'Wow, I really want to live there,'" Dagher said, adding that the point was not to build a "cheap house" or a "bio-house."

According to Dagher, printed buildings have a unique feature compared to existing structures: They can be recycled. "Basically, you can deconstruct it, you can grind up the 3D printed parts if you want, and you can reprint with them, you can do it again," Dagher explained.

But these printers can be used in many different fields, from boats to military structures. 

In the past, the university has showcased a 25-meter boat built with the first printer. Projects with the new printer include a 50-meter boat and homes for the homeless.