someday, 3d print your dream home

Living the dream

Large format 3D printing of houses is catching on and is looked as a smart way to build your home for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it gives the power of making decisions back to the consumer. The driving force behind this new way of giving people the home they want is that it is shaping up to be an affordable way to make your home from scratch. Large format 3D printing is poised to present itself within the context of the housing market as a low cost avenue that takes advantage of locally available resources, are energy-efficient and can be constructed without too many laborers. You can picture yourself and how you would carry out a wide array of activities in the space that you´ve set out, all the while getting an idea of what the costs of the 3D-printed materials might very well be. 

There are a number of interested parties that are trying to improve large format 3D printing possibilities in these fronts so that housing construction can be as sustainable as possible. Many of these are nothing less than scientists working with the backing of academic institutions. Case in point, at the University of Tartu and the Estonian University of Life Science created a solution that may very well catch on like fire if the demand for 3D-printable concrete reaches heights where it is projected to reach. Their mixture is a creative combination of oil shale ash, that´s been experimented as an alternative energy source, milled peat from the surface of a bog that after drying is ridged and harvested and as a result has incredible thermal and antibacterial properties, and silica nanoparticles that appear to be offering biologists a way for proteins to absorb and separate. This may sound complicated, but the process of developing a good recipe usually is and this particular recipe looks like it has the potential to reduce the costs of prive home construction by more than 10 times! An added benefit to this composite material is that it remains elastic for a long while which makes it ideal for closing any unwanted open air gaps.

In the city of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands. there is a project underway that may get much use out of this material. A company is working in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology, which has a respected background as a real pioneer of large format 3D printing, that uses concrete as its raw material and has recently finished the very first printed cycle bridge in the world, to figure out what what would entail 3D cement construction for human habitation. They have just hit the market with what they call Project Milestone and claim to be offering an alternative to bricklaying, one of the most common home building methods to be employed in the Netherlands, at a time in the country where, at present, construction is represented by a shortage of skilled laborers. This is the foundation of why choosing to purchase a house made from large format 3D printing is significantly less costly. It is also worth noting that in terms of environmental damage the biggest culprit in home construction in the Netherlands has been the amount of cement that is typically used to construct a brick home. 

It could very well be a huge leap forward in this kind of construction, and to believe it all one needs is to see the huge robotic arm that dispenses the specially formulated cement in action. If you’re already familiar with large format 3D printing units you just need to imagine what you’ve seen, but with a much bigger nozzle that in this case squirts out something that looks a lot like whipped cream. Rudy Van Gurp, a manager of the firm that´s behind this project, assures that the savings in cement are considerable as, in contrast to moulding, adding layer upon layer doesn’t´t ¨use more cement than is necessary,¨ which, in turn, frees homemakers to invest more in other areas. One of the areas in which there could be additional possibility for investing is placing wireless sensors right into the building`s walls so as to make the construction fully ¨smart.¨ This is ideal for those who value convenience as they can incorporate all controls, including heating, lighting and of course, security systems.

At present, only the walls are being made using printing methods but, if these first steps work out fine, there is a hope that all kinds of necessary installations will also be made using this technology. As such, there are many implications to the future of the construction industry as printing won´t be for the elite, but actually for everyone as printing out drainage pipes are much cheaper than having them installed with a variety of different tools and pieces.

Hopes are high indeed. Van Gurp believes that this construction method will catch on pretty quickly, mainly for affordability reasons and thinks that in 5 years 1 out of every 20 new homes will rely on large format 3D printing construction to some degree. The beauty, as he sees it is that people can choose varying proportions of this printing material alongside other more popular ones like timber and bricks. Tor the time being, it is primarily for the more superficial aspects of the house. For instance, the foundations for these new homes are made completely through traditional means. 

While the first attempts of Project Milestone may be somewhat straightforward, one thing is undeniable, they are futuristic in appearance and, if everything goas according to plan, they see their business going mainstream in a big way in less than a decade.

Large format 3D printing is poised to radically change not only the face of the market but the kinds of attitudes we bring to the table when we begin the process of building our dream home. For instance, the youngest members of a family that are working out the type of house they would like can express their feelings and thoughts before their parents about what they would like their bedrooms to be like. But not just that, they can share their ideas about what type of backyard would appeal most to them and allow them to have possibilities that they would appreciate. A big factor to consider when going over what type of interior flow most appeals to them. It makes all the sense in the world as they will hopefully be spending some of the most important formative years of their lives in this new environment.

The notion that your dream home could begin at the tip of your fingers is pretty enchanting, and for many is bound to feel like the way it ought to be if it indeed is to be your own. The whole large format 3d printing process can serve as a way to get people better to better know themselves, what their needs are and how they prefer to do things that matter to them as individuals. Life is all about making hard choices, however the ones that truly define us are those that aren´t so cut and dry and actually require to delve into introspection in a personally satisfying way. There´s also sure to be a shift in how houses become more personal affairs and as they´re passed down from generation to generation they can serve as a reminder of a certain time and place, both culturally and within a familial context.

Keep reading: more articles about 3D scanning

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