Polish engineers from the Association of Innovative Technologies (Stowarzyszenie Innowacyjnych Technologii – SIT Poland) have built a prototype of a 3D printer that is able to apply a layer of plaster to a building façade. It will be able to create precise images or reliefs. Janusz Wójcik from SIT Poland considers it the first device of this type in the world.

The 3D printer SKRIBI is able to create monochrome or multicolor reliefs – an exact copy of photographs or digital graphics projects. The effect achieved by the device is similar to sgraffito, a wall decor technique known since classical times. “It is an artistic technology that uses multi-layered plaster. It had been very popular in Europe until the post-war years of the twentieth century, but has been abandoned due to high labor intensity,” explains Wójcik.

SKRIBI is able to print out a digital project by dividing it into smaller chunks. The relief is created by applying multiple layers of plaster, each one to ten millimeters thick. The printer is placed on special guides and moves while printing. Plaster mass is applied line by line to the building façade.

Printing a multi-storey façade can take a long time – from a few days to over a month. On the plus side, the printer is very autonomous; it is enough to have two people supervising it.

For now, the prototype is able to print monochrome designs only. Future plans include multi-colored façade designs – Wójcik hopes to create a printer with six or seven separate nozzles with various plaster colors.

“We haven’t seen a similar façade printer yet,” he said. “We are excited to say that, with a high dose of probability, our project is truly innovative.”

SIT Polska will present their prototype on 28th and 29th March during the 3D Print Days in Kielce, Poland.