Turning A Shipping Container Into A 3D Printer

Built inside a 20-foot shipping container placed on its end, the Kamermaker – ” room maker” in Dutch – is one of the largest 3D printers we’ve ever seen. Able to print objects as big as 2 meter square and 3.5 meters high, the Kamermaker is designed to print huge objects including furniture, architectural elements, and even entire rooms.

The Kamermaker is a collaboration between Architectburo DUS and Utilimaker and the result of wanting to build the world’s largest 3D printer pavilion. Built inside a stainless steel-clad shipping container, the Kamermaker features a scaled-up version of the X, Y, and Z axes you’d find in any other 3D printer. The only change is a scaling up of current designs, allowing it to print small wind turbines covering its surface or, theoretically, a life-size TARDIS.

Because using traditional plastic filament would be prohibitively expensive, the Utilimaker team chose to extrude plastic pellets on the fly as it is used. There’s an excellent video of the filament extruder here along with a walk-through of the machine in operation after the break.



22 thoughts on “Turning A Shipping Container Into A 3D Printer

    1. Just what I was thinking. You can print enormous things, anywhere as long as you don’t mind that it would be quicker to just wait until you didn’t need them any more than to wait for them to finish printing.
      I wonder if you could print car body panels with it. If you had a kit car type vehicle you could print off different panels every now and then for a different look to your car. Might be kind of cool but would take quite a bit of work to smooth them back from the raw print.

      1. nice thought – you should look into a SMART car – easy to replace various panels and the nice things they are already made out of plastic and less expensive then the 3D printer setup – however – printing parts for your car is a cool idea

    2. I was there, it was on “slow speed” mode, because they are still testing. The actual final print speed will be a lot faster.
      Joris told me the mechanics can withstand up to 6m/s speeds. But the steppers cannot handle that.

    1. They are using a specially designed CoreXY frame. Not sure how much real deflection there is, but the thing is sturdy as hell. So I would say “none”.

      It’s not something someone hacked together in there garage one weekend, they have had a long planning phase.

  1. when it comes up, go on the channel 4 webite (uk) and watch the second episode of series 8. House made out of wood, but the parts were CNC’d out of an on site printer in a shipping container. no need to wait for missing parts, just print your own!

  2. When I see those people unknowingly lined up outside that shipping container, I can only think of the closing line from a famous movie nearly 40 years old:

    “Soylent Green is people!”

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