If so, you probably know how long the whole process takes. After the building process starts, it can take months to years for the house to be complete.
Even after all that, there’s no real guarantee that you’ll be satisfied by how the house looks. Winsun Decoration Design engineering, a Chinese building company, has found the perfect solution for all these construction problems.
By printing 10 houses in a single day using four giant 3D printers, this company has given us a glimpse of how additive printing can change the future of housing and construction.
10 Houses in a Single Day
On April 25th 2014, as the sun shone upon Shanghai Hi-Tech Industrial Park, ten small houses were clearly visible in the park. They looked just like ordinary houses but they definitely weren’t. In fact, a day ago, not one of them was there. Winsun Decoration Design engineering, a famous construction firm of China, had used its giant 3D printers, each measuring about 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters high, to build these 10 houses, each spanning an area of 2,100 square feet.
The walls were meticulously designed to give them stability and contained spaces for electricity and plumbing. What’s astounding is that each of these single-storey houses cost just $5000 to build!
Ma Yihe, the CEO of Winsun and the inventor of these giant printers, said that the core technology of quick drying cement was the most important component that allowed the houses to be built so quickly. However, he didn’t disclose the details of this magic ingredient. Ma Yihe has been researching 3D printing of houses for 12 years and his research has culminated into these house printers.
Ma told International Business Times:
“We purchased parts for the printer overseas, and assembled the machine in a factory in Suzhou. Such a new type of 3D-printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective.”
Ma’s own office is itself completely printed through the same technology and he plans to make these printers the standard method of construction in the near future.
A documentary about this project can be seen on Chinese YouTube news channel China View.
Better Than Traditional Construction?
You’re probably wondering whether this method of construction is any better than the traditional construction methods that we’re all used to. The answer is that additive printing has several clear advantages over traditional methods.
Let’s see what they are:
The first thing that makes Winsun’s printing technology better than traditional construction method is its low cost. As already mentioned, each of these houses costs an astounding $5000 to build. A similar house, built through traditional construction methods, would cost almost 5-10 times as much. This means that the houses built through Winsun’s giant printers are much more affordable.
These printers are environmentally friendly too. Not only are printers themselves waste-free but also by using construction waste as raw materials for new construction, they can help in the Recycling of Waste.
Probably the biggest advantage of using Winsun’s additive printers in construction is the amazing speed with which the houses are built. While several other projects have employed additive printing in construction before this one, such as the 3D Printing Canal House Project and Contour Crafting, they’re no match for the speed of Ma’s printers. Imagine walking by an empty place on one day and finding a skyscraper there the next day. That is exactly what these printers are capable of.
Ma summarizes the advantages of using 3D printing in the following words:
“With 3D printing, we recycle mine tailings into usable materials. And we can print building with any digital design our customers bring us. It’s fast and cheap.”
The Future of Construction
Winsun Decoration Design spent about 20 million yuans and 12 years for the project. Perhaps this investment will seem measly in the face of the benefits the world will receive from the merging of additive printing and construction. What are they? Let’s look into some of the future prospects.
According to a 2005 UNO estimate, more than 100 million people around the world are homeless. Building homes for all these people is impossible with traditional construction because of the amount of money and time required.
However, with additive printing cheap homes can be made quickly for most of them. So, perhaps, building simple $5000 dollar homes for the homeless people is the solution to homelessness.
Have you ever wished to design your own home? If so, additive printing can provide you with just the right tools as it is the technology that brings imagination to reality. With these house printers, consumers can pre-design their own homes and actually see them on their computer screen before asking the company to start building them!
Finally, the complexity provided by additive printing may change our concepts of building altogether. Future Buildings may incorporate complex Electronic Circuits and sensors in their walls to give them capabilities like automatic temperature regulation, security and surveillance etc. All this and maybe a lot more is possible with 3D printing.
Buildings in the Age of 3D Printing
3D printing was once considered to be good only for small things like Plastic Toys. However, it has evolved a lot since then. Winsun’s house printers have forever severed the association of 3D Printing Small Things.
If Ma Yihe’s dream comes true, future buildings will not only be Environment Friendly and affordable, they’ll also be customizable.
Furthermore, they’ll be built in a matter of hours. You’ll order your house in the morning and will shift to your newly-built home by night. Let’s hope it does come true.
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