Would you live in a home made completely out of paper? It’s not flimsy by any means, when you consider the technology of 3-D printing that can make the architecture sturdy and even beautiful.
Machine Design reports that several companies are building livable homes like these from the inside out using 3-D printing:
The idea of a 3D-printed house began with a simple concept, using a programmable Cartesian coordinate system to extrude cement into layers creating a small, single-story living space. In another approach, some designers made 3D-printed parts that could then be assembled into a building. This technique can be done on-site and can offer supply-chain benefits, as well as solve some problems when printing cement, such as trying to print a second floor, overhangs, or balconies.
WinSun is one of the companies producing the modular cement designs and in the last year used 3D-printing techniques to print a five-story building, mansions, and other houses in China. While some companies are working on designs to print on-site, others will print parts and then transport them. Transporting prints can have some of the same problems a traditional supply chain must deal with, including the possibility of parts and trusses breaking. However, WinSun says by using this technique it improved process efficiency by 10 times, shortened production time up to 70%, and decreased labor cost by up to 80%.
An Italian company named World’s Advanced Saving Project (WASP) is working on a more mobile design. Allowing on-site printing could generate an entire building rather than the modular design. This approach limits the building’s size, but other techniques could increase the build space. Engineers have presented ideas of tracks or wheels to move the whole printer to construct larger buildings.