Three-dimensional printing has over the years grown out of the initial rapid prototyping apps to become a well-developed manufacturing process, known in the market as additive manufacturing. It is being used to produce a wide range of products, from jet engine parts and dental implants. Essentially, it was just a matter of time before 3D printing was adopted by the construction industry.
3D printing is not just for the little things, big construction companies are now using patent-pending Three-dimensional technology known as the Autonomous Robotic Construction System To Print Houses.
Essentially, 3D printed houses are constructed by depositing materials in a structured manner. A paste-like concrete mix is extruded through the nozzle, which is guided by the massive gantry, creating the walls from the ground.
Although it does not sound complex at first, it’s not. However, the impact of such construction processes is quite immense. Although it’s still in the early phases, it has shown very promising results and has quickly caught media attention.
How 3D Construction Works
The basics behind printing 3D homes is almost identical to that which 3D printers use when creating other products. Through the utilization of the computer numerical control, a huge concrete extrusion machine cautiously follow the paths designed for exterior or interior walls, depositing a uniform layer of the semi-solid concrete that cures to build a strong structural frame. Every house is engineered meticulously to meet the building codes. The firm inputs the home architectural plans in their computer and then mix and fees concrete in the extrusion machine.
What’s included in 3D Printing?
A three-dimensional printed house can be compared to other kinds of concrete frame homes, including those that have been built from the precast concrete blocks and those where exterior walls are formed and then poured with the wet concrete. However, the completed home isn’t completely 3D printed. As mentioned earlier, the concrete extrusion machine creates the exterior and interior walls and in few cases, it might also form the foundation.
After the walls are finished, the traditional framing will take over to build the rafter roof system or truss, add windows and doors, HVAC runs, plumbing, wiring, and shingles, and then finish the interior finish (fixtures, flooring, wall covering, and cabinet) that make the house a complete home.
While it’s one of the most vibrant building materials out there, concrete isn’t costly, so the materials required to build the concrete house would be cheaper. However, the most significant savings come in minimal labor charges. For the traditional house, labor costs range from 30% – 50% of the overall cost of the house.
Building a house in the traditional style is a dusty and noisy endeavor that requires cutting down of trees to harvest the timber necessary to frame the roof, floors, and walls. It’s an undisputed fact that a 3D printed house is more environmentally friendly since it saves trees.
Cowan, M. (2018, July 5). The world’s First Family to live in a 3D-printed home. BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-44709534
Biron, C. L. (2021, February 15). FEATURE-3D-printed homes build hope for U.S. affordable housing. U.S. https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-homes-tech-idUSL8N2KL3UU
Williams, D. (2021, March 18). The first 3D-printed housing community in the US is being built in the California desert. CNN. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/03/18/business/california-3d-printed-neighborhood-trnd/index.html