"I've sacrificed my soul for this project...I've become a bastard."
Enrico Dini is a robotics expert, an alchemist and a contrarian who has developed groundbreaking construction methods using 3D printing to robotically create houses and ocean reefs in solid stone.
He is also, in the mold of tormented geniuses who came before him like Preston Tucker and Nicola Tesla, balanced on the fine edge of madness and obsession.
Dini, the CEO and primum mobile of D-Shape, has a grand vision which has led him to suffer financial problems and dissolution of his family life in pursuit of his Holy Grail and his life's work.
Dini built the world's largest 3D printer from scratch, and with it he's printed enormous sculptures, worked with the European Space Agency on a project to colonize the moon, turned a sand dune in the desert to stone, and very nearly printed his dream project – a small Italian house called a trullo.
Now Dini is the subject of a film chronicling his life, and with its release, he's poised to become the first real public superstar of the 3D printing universe.
His D-Shape machinery is capable of creating, from sandstone, full-sized buildings without the need for human intervention. The 3D printing process Dini's machine uses requires nothing more than sand and an inorganic binder to function, and Dini believes D-Shape has arrived at a methodology sure to upset the architectural design and building construction trades.
The Man Who Prints Houses, a film by Marc Webb and Jack Wake-Walker, tells his story, and it will make him a star...or a pariah.
After creating the largest 3D printer in the world, a machine which can create objects 18 feet across and just as tall, the final output is composed of 5 mm thick layered sections. Dini says he takes his design inspiration from the work of famed Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi, and that he became a civil engineer as a result of that admiration. In 2004, Dini invented and patented his full scale 3D printing method which uses epoxy to bind sand, and his journey began.
"My boss said, 'You are crazy, you will destroy yourself,'" Dini once said. "I've put everything in my life into this project. It's a revolution."
It appears that prophecy has yet to be realized, but one thing is pretty certain; Enrico Dini will go down swinging.