3D Printing the Houses of the Future

by Jason King on July 16, 2013

3D Printed Concrete3D printing is a technique used in manufacturing a product to convert a digital design into physical reality.

It prints by creating cross sections which are then hardened with binding agents by putting layer upon layer of liquid or sheet material or powder.

The first 3D printers appeared in 1980’s but they were huge just like early computers and far too expensive too. How things have changed in the last 30 years. In comparison with 1980’s era today’s printers are more economical and more in demand. Their manufacturing process is quite addictive and has deep down impact on a consumer’s imagination.

It will be no surprise to hear that innovative 3D printing is springing up in almost every segment, such as jewellery, shoes, furniture, and art work. One jaw dropping area soon to explode 3D printing is in Printing Human Organs and Body Parts.

An Exciting Project at Loughborough University

There’s currently a project being undertaken by Loughborough University (UK) which is inspired by 3D Concrete Printing (YouTube Video) and which is said to be capable of producing full sized building components.

The revolutionary potential of the 3D printing can already do wonders in most industries, but as of now it’s the housing industry which is seen blessed by it. Although it’s still under the testing phase it’s is already popular and a very desirable use for this technology.

Wherever we have positives we also have some negatives. 3D printing houses could mean a reduction in construction jobs. However, if we see lower manpower requirements then we then we’ll see massive savings for the consumer.

Since this technique is new, many people would not feel comfortable going ahead with 3D printing as their first choice for building a house. The layer after layer technology of 3D printing proves to be the biggest strength as well as a weakness (the parts are supposedly not as strong as the traditionally manufactured parts). As time goes by advances in material science is expected to change this rapidly though.

How Can 3D Printing Bring Architecture to Life?

It’s like a jigsaw puzzle solved. To put it more clearly, you can save the design into a template and then print huge parts just like a jigsaw puzzle. And what is unbelievable is that it doesn’t require as many tools at the time of assembling it. That’s the beauty of it. It’s almost like giant Lego.

Is you’re in the construction industry this is definitely going to increase your interest and pump up your excitement. It’s astonishing to think that now you and your family can now be the sole designers of your home. You don’t need to hire a team of construction workers, just have it printed. Finally you’ll be able to design your home yourself, with a personal touch and uniqueness which was never possible before without spending a fortune.

Our house is very close to our heart so it should really be that piece of imagination which we have always fantasised about. Now you have the chance of bringing previously undiscovered architect in yourself. Be proud and make your house a fashion statement with the unique shape, size and exclusive appearance.

What Changes Will the Building Industry Experience?

Unlike traditional construction methods, 3D printing could cut down the time consumed in the construction processes and give a free hand to the architecture professionals to spend more time in different aspects of each project.

Who other than an architect currently knows the importance of dreaming and creating at a very high speed and with economical cost? Yes it may massively affect the traditional way of housing too but does it really matter, if we are seeing a better product at a much lower price. It also opens up avenues for customisation and innovation like we’ve never seen before.

The most important change in the building industry will be the in depth knowledge of 3D printing which will be required. It takes effort and knowledge to understand the subject. If you have to print in 2D, you can’t print it without having written or designed something first.

Similarly, to apply 3D printing requires basic to expert knowledge depending on the nature of the objects being printed. New skills to acquire will include: Learning CAD, 3D Scanning, downloading 3D files and learning about new materials.

Even being in a dilemma and facing the pros and cons, many people like me are definitely obsessed with the arrival of 3D printing on such a large scale. It gives life to ideas and imagination of countless people and large scale printing has a huge future ahead of it.

We’ve already seen examples of Nano Scale 3D Printing but here it is, the other end of the spectrum, macro scale 3D printing. Where will the potential of 3D printing end?

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