3D printing buildings

Post date: Dec 7, 2013 4:05:22 PM

Don't miss this 12 minute video which I am convinced shows the future of building. Most of the objects around you (home appliances, cars, shoes, clothes etc) are made by highly automated manufacturing processes. There is one very common thing that is still built by a highly labor-intensive and non-automated construction process: buildings. Building construction is problematic at many levels. It is

  • slow
  • labor-intensive and inefficient
  • relatively hazardous work
  • wasteful and emission causing
  • corruption-prone
  • expensive and often over budget

The 3D printing of buildings (called 'Contour Crafting' in this video) avoids most of these problems. It is as much as five times better than current methods for speed (a modest house can be built in 20 hours for a fifth of the cost of a normal house!), waste and energy use. Note that the 3D printing process can include the integration of plumbing and electrical circuits into the building. Other nice feature are that it makes it easy to incorporate curved surfaces into the building's architecture, and to modify or vary the architecture using standard software tools.

Want to see the actual printing process in action? The wall printed here is light and well-insulated, since it contains air pockets, and about three times stronger than a normal concrete wall.