Archimedes once said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.” In the world of new things, the saying might be, “Give me a large enough 3d printer and I can print a city.”
Not quite yet, but in the quest for bigger 3D printing, the Chinese company Winsun that last year claimed to have printed ten houses in 24 hours, recently printed a five-story apartment building and a 11,000 square foot mansion. Granted, they were printed in pieces and then assembled on site with appropriate reinforcing and foundations. However, this represents a step forward in the 3D manufacturing of housing in a part of the world that is sorely in need of low cost housing for a burgeoning population.
According to an article published on CNET, the 3D printing process for construction can drastically reduce production costs by 50-70%, reduce construction waste by 30-60%, and reduce labor costs by 50-80%.
The massive printer, which is 20-feet tall, 33-feet wide, 132-feet long, uses cad systems to control the design and recycled concrete for the “ink,” can produce houses in a day. It sounds amazing, but it is a reality that will impact many parts of the housing and construction industry around the world. As my dad used to tell me, “Heads up so that you can see the change that is headed your way.”
Using a CAD design as a template, a computer controls a mechanical extruder arm to lay down concrete, and then pieces are subsequently joined together at a construction site. (Source: Winsun)