Home is where the printer is

Could this be the answer to Australia‘s affordable housing deficit?

If 3D printers are capable of producing new limbs for humans, then surely a new house is not out of the question?

University of Southern California Professor Berokh Khoshnevis has spent the past 10 years working on such a vision – designing an enormous 3-D printer that can print an entire home, complete with concrete, electrical wiring and plumbing to boot.

The notion of manufacturing dwellings with what essentially looks like a gigantic hot glue gun sounds far-fetched, but Khoshnevis and his students at the University’s ‘Centre for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies’ have been toiling long enough to have made significant advancements on designs and prototypes. Khoshnevis asserts that they’ve effectively solved many of the initial problems associated with this technology, particularly the difficult process of extruding concrete in a layered fashion. His ‘contour crafting’ robotic construction system has now printed entire six-foot tall sections of homes in his lab. He’s also able to use gypsum, wood chips, and epoxy and is working on adobe materials. Although the first whole houses will be smaller, Khoshnevis ultimately thinks he will be able to build a 230m2 home in 20 hours.

There may come a time where the likes of Bunnings stock and rent out the 3-D printers – allowing homes to be built more cheaply, by reducing labour and material costs (construction costs could ultimately be reduced by up to 40 per cent). And because the 3-D printer only prints what it needs, this technique wastes less material than conventional construction. As with all 3-D printing, there is an unprecedented opportunity to customise the design – simply upload a file and a computer will configure the rest.

What’s not to like?!

Source: Centre for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technology [CRAFT] website



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