The concept of 3D printing has evolved a lot in the recent years. The first prototype for 3D printers was introduced during the 1980s and Japanese designer, Hideo Kodama was the first person who made this technology popular among the masses. Four years later, these 3D printers have become more powerful in terms of speed and versatility.
Evolution of 3D Printing in Building Homes
In the past few years, many construction companies have suggested various 3D printing business ideas for creating affordable houses and buildings. Through 3D printing technology, these construction companies have been able to cut down on various construction and operational costs. Nevertheless, a lot of people are still skeptical about the scalability and efficiency of 3D print technology for building homes.
In this article, we will look at the evolution of 3D printing technology and its role in the construction of homes and buildings.
Budget and Operational Costs
In terms of maintenance and operational costs, almost all new technologies and inventions require a high budget. Similarly, commercial and industrial 3D printers used to be quite expensive.
Gradually, with continuous research and development in 3D printing technology, more advanced and economical 3D printers were developed. Still, the price of a complete 3D printed home can cost up to $10,000!
ICON’s 3D Printed Homes
Earlier in 2018, a construction startup named ICON collaborated with a non-profit organization, New Story Charity to build affordable houses through 3D printing technology. Together, they managed to build a full neighborhood of 3D printed homes. Their main aim was to provide accommodation to those who cannot afford proper homes.
The project was worth $10,000 and was completed in just 24 hours! ICON also plans to cut down the costs even more in near future. Today, their main objective is to assist in the rehabilitation of affectees of tsunami, earthquake and other natural disasters.
The printer used in the construction of the house weighed around a ton. Such printers are believed to reduce various labor and construction costs. Still, a lot of research is yet to be made as there are various technical issues regarding pipelines and electrical cables.
WinSun’s 3D Printed Building
In 2016, Chinese company WinSun, created an entire building through 3D printing technology. This building was completed in 17 days and the budget was around $140,000.
Living in a 3D Printed House
Earlier, a French family had come into the news for becoming the first family to be living in a house built entirely by 3D printing technology. Today, the house also serves as a prototype for constructors and architects to design bigger 3D printed houses. The project took a total of 54 hours to complete and its cost is estimated to be around $226,700.
Future of 3D Printing in Building Houses
Through the examples of the projects mentioned above, it is quite evident that it is possible to build an entire house through 3D printing technology in less time and budget. Therefore, 3D printing is a more superior and sustainable solution for building homes at affordable prices.
The current advancements made in the world of 3D printing only facilitates building smaller houses as printing of metals through 3D printers is still a challenging task for construction companies. Therefore, the main goal for construction companies is to fully automate the construction process.
In order to replicate traditional structures, it is crucial to develop such 3D printers that can be used on metal and other materials as well. Moreover, another challenging task is to automate plumbing and electrical tasks. As of now, these tasks have to be performed manually by professionals.
To Sum Up
Today, all 3D printing projects word over have focused solely on fast and basic housing that is easily available, with concrete as the core material instead of using other materials for more luxurious accommodations.
Bigger and intricate designs require different printing machines and robots that haven’t been developed yet. Such meticulous designing requires advanced level robotic technology which is yet to be developed for mass production. Therefore, a lot of research and development is yet to be made in automating the entire process of 3D printing of pipes, cables etc.