How the world's largest 3D printer could change housing and people's lives for the better.

If you've ever seen a 3D printer in action, then you already know they're a remarkable feat of modern engineering.

Case in point:


So powerful 3D printers are, hmmm? GIF via BusyBotz 3D Printing/YouTube.

But they're great for a lot more than statuettes and tchotchkes. Today, 3D printers are being used as a lower-cost manufacturing alternative for everything from dental retainers to jet engine parts and plenty in between.

Now, one company has developed the world's largest 3D printer, which they plan on using to build homes.

The Italian maker of 3D printers is called World's Advanced Saving Project (WASP), and their 40-foot-tall, 20-foot-wide beast of a printer has been dubbed BigDelta.

Yes, this towering contraption is the printer. Image by WASP.

WASP wants to build affordable and sustainable housing in poor rural communities around the world.

The company explained in a press release that it wasn't money that motivated them to build BigDelta, it was the need.


Image by WASP.

According to UN-Habitat, 40% of the global population (roughly 3 billion people) will be in need of adequate housing by 2030, which means nearly 100,000 housing units need to be built every day between now and then.

BigDelta won't just plop down your run-of-the-mill block-shaped homes because what fun would that be?

"[Traditional] architecture is square," says WASP founder Massimo Moretti, but "in nature ... form is not square, it is round."

Massimo Moretti, founder of WASP. GIF via WASP/YouTube.

3D printing allows them to build structures, layer by layer, based on biomimicry, or nature-inspired design, which includes the curves we see in the organic world.

Corners are for squares. GIF via WASP/YouTube.

They want to prove that home building doesn't have to be as costly as it's become with conventional construction.

Like its namesake insect, WASP's plan is to build dwellings using nothing but earth and water (another example of biomimicry) and, of course, a gigantic printer.

Female potter wasps build their brood nests using a mixture of dirt and regurgitated water. Image by Ian Alexander/Wikimedia Commons.

By combining the new world technology of digital fabrication with the old world technology of adobe (buildings made with water, dirt, clay, and plant fibers), they believe they can print new digs without all the labor, equipment, and materials that typically make home building expensive and time-intensive.

A smaller-scale demonstration of how BigDelta works. Image via WASP/YouTube.

The WASP team has a lot of experimentation to do before they put BigDelta to work. Luckily, the project is being powered by a smart team, a successful business, and a lot of people hoping (and praying) for their success.

And like Moretti says, "Si può fare!" or "Can be done!"

Check out a demonstration of WASP's smaller-sized, 13-foot clay 3D printer:

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I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

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What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

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