3D Printing


3D Printing

Lafarge is committed to bringing affordable housing in Africa and and the savings on time and money are remarkable. Watch the space as Lafarge Zimbabwe will post the first 3D printed house in Zimbabwe this year, 2021. 


What is 3D Printing

3D printing is the process of bringing to life, a 3 dimensional solid object from a digital model. Lafarge has invested in 3D capabilities for building strong, durable and affordable housing in the shortest possible period of time.


Is 3D printing done for everything in the house?

3D printing is for the superstructure walls only. The foundation, roofing and all other elements are done using convertional means. The printing will build walls with a precision and strength that eliminates a signicant amount of human error and saves time. 


What are benefits of 3D printing?

  1.  3D designs tend to have more natural light thereby reducing the energy need.
  2. There is significant reduction in construction waste, due to the precision printing.
  3. 3D printing is optimized for installation of solar panels and water harvesting.


What materials is used to do the 3D printing?

The ink is a special blend of premium Lafarge Cement, selected grades of sand and uniquely created strength enhancing additivies. This special blend (ink) helps ensure that the structure is beautiful, strong and durable. 


How much time does it take to print a house?

Printing time, just like standard building time, will vary depending on the complexity of the house design and its size. However, based on a low cost , 50 sqm floor building, a standard construction time of 12 to 15 hours is exepected on the superstructure.


The first 3D printed homes and School in Africa 


SupaSet Cement

1 The first 3D printed house in Africa built in Malawi.


3D printing in construction is still relatively new globally, but perhaps it is worth exploring on the continent to help solve the growing housing needs. A lot can be learnt from startups like Icon in the United States, who are able to 3D print homes for as low as $4,000.   

SupaSet Cement

The world’s first 3D printed school in Malawi, Africa.


The use of COBOD’s BOD2 printer in Malawi follows the many other successful projects initiated with the technology such as the first 3D printed buildings in Europe, as well as the first 3D printed concrete wind turbine tower made for GE. Henrik Lund-Nielsen      

3D printing on the cards for Zimbabwe. 

Holcim, Lafarge Cement’s parent company has partnered with UK development financier CDC Group to introduce 3D printing technology in the construction market in a move aimed at promoting and fast-tracking the delivery of affordable houses.

Through a partnership known as 14Trees, the two firms are set to deploy the technology locally following the success of a similar mission in Malawi and Kenya where a house and a school were 3D printed in December 2020.

The technology was initially deployed in Malawi during the first phase of the project before being rolled out to Kenya and now is set to be introduced in Zimbabwe.

Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe recently opened a new $2.8 million dry mortar plant in Zimbabwe that will produce the 3D printable ink required for local construction projects. Using a proprietary ink from Lafarge, the 3D printing technology is expected to significantly reduce the time and costs of building homes and schools..

3D printing of buildings is a revolutionary technology mainly due to its speed and optimised usage of construction materials, as well as its ability to reduce carbon footprint of new homes by up to 70 percent.

The technology achieves shorter build times by doing away and consolidating more than 20 manual labour-intensive processes, including siding, framing, and sheathing.

3D printing of houses generates 30 percent of waste that conventional projects produce since construction components are printed on-demand and any leftovers can easily be recycled for future use.

Another benefit of this technology is that it produces structures that are mold and fire-resistant and built to withstand severe weather more than structures completed using traditional construction methods.

The arena of 3D printing of houses is already expanding globally as more companies invest millions of dollars into the development of 3D printing technologies.

Dubai is for example positioning itself as a hub for 3D printing of buildings in line with its Vision 2025 where at least 25 per cent of all new buildings in the city will be 3D printed.