Ten 3D-Printed Sustainable Homes Produced in 24 Hours
Dan Thomas posted on April 25, 2014 |
An experimental revolution is underway in China to use 3D printing techniques to build houses.

An experimental revolution is underway in China to use 3D printing techniques to build houses. This rapid construction process was demonstrated to build 10 small houses in 24 hours, predominantly from recycled materials. The company behind it is Suzhou-based construction materials firm Winsun.

The houses that are produced may look a little on the plain side, but they do show the potential for an evolution in new building materials and 3D printing construction processes to achieve rapid construction. This modular construction method is akin to concrete wall construction, which has been around for many years, and offers the potential of complete onsite construction methods for the assembly of sustainable and affordable homes.

Rather than using labor-intensive bricks and mortar construction, the developed system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and recycled glass fibre which are deposited in layers. This process is similar to traditional extrusion 3D printing processes.

Starting with an architectural CAD design, the tool paths are produced considering insulation materials, plumbing, electrical lining and windows, which can later be outfitted once the underlying structure has been assembled. The diagonally reinforced print pattern leaves plenty of air gaps to act as insulation.

These components are printed at the factory and assembled rapidly on site. They cost around $4,800 each.  The process has the potential to ease housing crises in many developing countries that are in urgent need of quick-to-assemble and cheap housing.

The potential for sustainable house building using 3D printing offers an exciting prospect for the construction sector. From the opportunity of placing honeycombs inside a structure for increased strength and improved insulation to the possibility of producing futuristic houses, this process may revolutionize the way in which we all live in the not so distant future.



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