Friday, June 21, 2013

3D Printable houses could be in your future

3D printers are awesome, but do you know just how awesome?  Imagine a giant 3D printer, so larger it can print a house.  That's right a house. The idea is that a large scale 3D printer that prints in concrete could extrude an entire house in about a day.  The video below tells some of the details of a system called Contour Crafting that does just that.

The cool thing about this, in addition to it being inexpensive, high quality and no requiring a lot of highly skilled labor is that these homes can be customized in software at no additional cost.  The nozzle squirts the concrete over here instead of over there and I've got a home theater where you had a study.   I think there may be something here.

I will say that  in the video, professor Khoshnevis also talks about incorporating wiring and piples into the building.  I think they need to be very careful here.  Stewart Brand's book How Buildings Learn talks about the different time scales of different parts of the home and the dangers of tying them to each other (wiring and pipes change faster than walls and thus combining them may cause problems).  I think there may be some work to do to understand all the implications of a printed house, but it certainly sounds compelling overall.  I think I'll go find a CAD program and start designing my dream house.

Read more here