3D Printing is just one of those things that boggles the mind. Additive manufacturing has become such a pervasive part of a growing industry that many 3D modelers are actually saving up for one of these to use in a commercial or private capacity. The ability to render something in 3D in AutoCAD and then have that exact thing built perfectly to scale for you by a printer next to your desk is an understated one. 3D printers have created things from robots to genome sequences, Audi R8 mock-ups, scale-structures of famous buildings and now, even buildings themselves.
One Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis in the University of Southern California has developed a large-scale 3D printing mechanism to build houses out of concrete within twenty hours. Using a combination of slow-set and quick-setting cement the printer runs through the design created using a CAD design from your computer and layers everything on top of each other in one fell swoop.
While doing so, Khoshnevis hopes that the printing mechanism can evolve to be complex enough to even incorporate things like wiring and plumbing circuits into the plans that it prints from, allowing easier and quicker access, along with faster completion times, for a house with full plumbing and electrical systems from a single run. The design can be as complex or as simple as you’d like and you can even have things like round windows, curved roofs and secret hidey-holes pre-made for your convenience.
The Professor’s method of creating the buildings is via a process called contour crafting which he developed with help from the University, where layers of material are stacked, welded or cemented together to create the final finished product – in this case, a house created by marrying the two technology, crafting and 3D printing, together.
Whether it actually gets off the ground or not is a good question, but judging by the mock-ups and the rather cool presentation, I’d say its one technology that will easily make inroads into the construction industry. Imaging getting a new house, from start to finish, with painted walls and tiled floors, within a week – how cool is that?