Ten houses built in one day?! And we are not talking about doll houses? C`mon, we all love to dream sometimes, but, let`s be honest, it sounds impossible, unbelievable, exaggerated. Well, not to Chinese Company Win Sun Decoration Design Engineering. They actually did it. They are just one of many now to work on printed housing, implementing innovations in construction industry. Houses they have made are 3D-printed concrete houses, completely functional and usable.
Are we witnessing the birth of an ultimate game changer in the building industry?
It seems this new building technology deserves that title. We will take you through it’s the advantages, examples of what has already been done, and what is expected from this promising 3D printing innovation.
3D printing - 4th Industrial Revolution`s significant weapon
We`ve already written here about using 3D printing to create some much needed objects in cases of natural disaster type of emergency. Well, we are talking about large-scale projects now; large like Dubai-style large when you compare it to printing a water pipe. Namely, 3D printing represents, next to IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles etc., the 4th Industrial Revolution`s significant weapon. Experts think it`s time to use most popular printing technologies and new printing materials to provide elaborated designs and build massive structures, which can result in manufacturing urban features, bridges, buildings, movable offices and habitable 3D printed houses.
Yes, you can have your house printed.
How does a house come out of a printer?
Ok, we all know how to click the print button, and in a couple of seconds we have a house coming out of our desktop printer. On the paper. But, if we want a house build out of concrete, in which we can eat, sleep and repeat, we must also click the print button, however it has to be button on a large-scale 3D printer. Those kinds of printers are usually machines with automated, robotic arms used to deposit material, but there are also delta printers and polar machines. Further innovations, like those in types of materials used, opened so many possibilities in additive manufacturing, that it became an important asset in the construction industry. Architectural structures can now be made out of concrete, fiber, sand, and metal, both in the factories or in the field.
Hence, house is designed, personalized, materials chosen, 3D printer set up, robotic arm starts doing its thing, squeezing the concrete like whipped cream, and in the blink of an eye you have a printed house. You didn`t even manage to choose the furniture! Not exactly, but you get the point.
Brick by Brick, you are fired!
3D concrete printing science and technology are developing rapidly and, with its numerous advantages, tend to become widely adopted. Let`s see what`s so great about using 3D printers in home construction.
3D printing software is perfect for designing, personalization, modifying or correcting as many times as needed. It provides the architectural sector with almost endless possibilities, freedom of form and structure. Round, hollow, convex. Different colors, qualities and types of cement can be integrated in one product straight away. No need for sharp angles, everything can be rounded and smooth. The irregular shape of the buildings makes every built structure unique and interesting. There are already printed villas, offices, tiny cabins, hotels and a pedestrian bridge.
Apis Cor Company printed a house in just 24 hours. Fully functional tiny home with electrical wiring, plumbing and all. It is said it can withstand the snow and could potentially last for 175 years. Is that fast-paced, or what? They constructed a mobile 3D printer and did everything on site, having the machine work continuously. This time-saving advantage can and should be used to build homes for people after natural disasters, like New Story and ICON technologies did for people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
You only use the amount of the material needed. There is a minimum of wasted material residue. Almost none. Also less transportation, tooling and labor costs. Do you know how much a hard-working constructor can eat during several months of brick by brick building? Muchisimo. 3D-concrete printing innovation allows building a small house for 4000$. Case closed.
3D printer can work anywhere, as long as the construction rules of the area are being obeyed. It is especially convenient for remote areas. Sometimes, the printer actually makes mobile parts of a structure. For example, aforementioned company, Win Sun, constructed a 32 x 10 x 6.6 m size 3D printer to develop walls in their factory, which were later assembled on site to make a house. There are certainly less machines and equipment to transport.
In the process of making concrete, a lot of CO2 is released. Having in mind that less cement is needed when using 3d printers, we can surely conclude that less of this greenhouse gas is being emitted. That`s a good thing, for sure.
Highly anticipated Project Milestone
In 2019 we are going to witness the first results of a 3D concrete printing project called Project Milestone, done by the Dutch construction company Van Wijnen. It will take place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, where five 3D concrete houses will be built. The reason why this project is a real milestone is that all five houses will be put on the market by a real estate company like every traditionally built house. Houses will be modern, meeting all comfort requirements, fully `smart`, sustainably and energy efficient, and ready to be occupied.
Structure and design of these houses will be different going from only consisting of a ground floor to fifth one being a 2-storey home. Printer will firstly be located off-site, but it is expected that the last house will be built completely on site, thus showing the development and progress of this innovative technology.
The exact location will be in Meerhoven district, an area called Bosrijk, looking like a `sculpture garden` in a beautiful natural wooded surroundings, which makes the houses fit in perfectly with their unusual form, like they`ve always been there. The green landscape provides a perfect atmosphere for a `city nomad` or `urban cowboy`. Everything is done respecting the urban regulations and in collaboration with the municipality of Eindhoven and Eindhoven University of Technology.
Just days after the design went public, around 20 families applied to make these revolutionary structures their homes! Would you? We will stop here for now, for these innovative new technologies are making us write endlessly. Go and think about printing your home, office or villa and maybe start learning Dutch.