3D printing, while mostly limited to custom parts building and the occasional trinkets n’ stuff, has been suggested on a number of larger scale applications. Building and construction of course, have already been considered.
But while implementation is limited to prefabricated component designs, this hasn’t stopped innovators from thinking up and beyond. Apis Cor for instance, managed to build a 3D printed house in just 24 hours.
Covered with Grass, Made by Metal, Built in Stone
Apis Cor, the company that built the house, explains in brief the advancements that the company has made in the implementation of more efficient 3D printer hardware. First introduced was its large scale 3D printer, which incorporated the typical application of a crane-like design, custom built for deployment flexibility and project variability. Control is of course handled by computers, with geopolymer concrete as one of the several types of ‘ink’ that it can use.
The efficiency of the 3D printer seems to primarily lie in its implementation. It utilizes a simpler design that is marketed as very easy to put into work. Materials are delivered on-site, and a tent can be put up to control the needed operation temperatures, Since it is fully-automated, the 3D printer can be left on its own during the entire work period. The only thing left for manual labor are certain installations, outer finishes, and interior design.
The sample 3D printed house itself, which was roughly 37 square meters, can hardly be considered as a fully furnished complete home. However, it is large enough to house most of the amenities needed for a regular bungalow. At the very least, it was shown to have all the necessary functions and features to work as a home.
Probability, Feasibility, Viability
To say that it is a perfect home would, of course, be wildly inaccurate. Scaling and utilities were seemingly left out in the promotion video for instance. Still, end-game durability aside, the mere fact that it was constructed as per building standards in Russia within just 24 hours is still an achievement in itself.
In fact, proof-of-concept wise, the building team claims that the entire 3D printed house itself (not including the land) only cost about $10,000. Much of the cost comes from the extra installations and the printing hardware itself, having much, much less share for manual labor. Again, it’s mostly automated, or at least optimized for automation, so saved time would always be a default bonus or incentive for any of its projects.
One thing to note though, even with the state-of-the-art composite materials claimed to be used for the construction, we most likely won’t see gigantic 3D printers building skyscrapers just yet. But the concept shows potential economic feasibility, and a cheap, low-end market for it could soon be available for the common folk in the near future.