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Andrey Rudenko built a castle. It's not very large, but not even King Louis XIV could have imagined its construction.
Rudenko created it, layer by layer, with a 3-D printer. And now he has plans to build an entire village.
"The idea is to create an international community in different countries exchanging knowledge, experience and interchanging 3-D files," Rudenko, a Russian-born contractor who now lives in Shorewood, Minnesota, told TODAY via email.
He's still looking for a site for the village and he's not sure yet how big it will be. He hopes architects, students and civil engineers from around the world will contribute, making the village a testing ground for 3-D printing ideas.
He knows it won't be easy. It was hard enough to build his small castle in his back yard. Rudenko constructed his own large 3-D printer for the task. These machines normally lay down layers of plastic to build everything from toys to prosthetic limbs.
Rudenko configured it to exude cement, which had to be mixed in the perfect proportion to avoid it clogging up the printer or not drying correctly.
"Printing an entire finished structure on-site definitely has big advantages," he said. "My technology produces the whole structure with no unnecessary labor or the use of cranes and transportation trucks to put blocks together."
Before he moves on to the village, he wants to build a full-scale 3-D printed house. He says the 3-D printer could create everything: the walls, staircases, columns, kitchen islands and more.
He is not the only one with that dream. Recently in China, WinSun Decoration Design Engineering unveiled what it claimed was "the world’s tallest 3D-printed building." The five-story apartment building was built next to a two-story neoclassical mansion.
Rudenko might not have the same resources as WinSun, but he certainly has plenty of ambition. After the house is built, he hopes to make his fantasy village a tourist attraction.
First, he wants to build small-scale buildings like his castle. But eventually he wants to expand to building more ambitious structures like hotels.
Rudenko said he is getting hundreds of emails from people interested in printing their own houses. What he needs, he said, are investors for the land and the equipment. He also needs creative minds who want to be part of his novel project.
"When I am talking to architects, they are not familiar with this technology and how to use it for construction projects," he said. The village "should allow them to participate and see how the new technology works," he added.
"I’m looking for people who are willing to help make this a reality."