A construction firm in China called Win Sun is now using giant 3D printers to develop houses, and says it can build up to ten a day using this new technology. The company has built the houses using a mixture of waste material and cement, by layering them to create walls.
Each of the houses comes in at just under £3000 each and is almost completely built using 3D printing. The only parts of the houses that were created separately are the windows and the roof, and of course any furniture.
This incredible new technology effectively means that new homes can be built in a very fast and efficient manner and in a range of different styles. If skyscrapers can be created in the same fashion then the construction industry will never be the same again.
It takes four ginormous printers to create each of the houses, measuring in at 32m x 10m x 6.6m. The printer pumps the cement and other materials in a layer-by-layer affect to create a wall. The material used is extremely fast drying but is a secret recipe. It is also completely economical as it is made using only recycled waste.
These remarkable bungalows can be found situated in the Shanghai Hi-Tech Industrial Park and are all currently unoccupied. Due to the current building regulations in China, the company are restricted from creating any multi-storey buildings using the printers.
Ma Yihe, Chief Executive of Win Sun, said:
“We can print buildings to any digital design our customers bring us. It's fast and cheap. We purchased parts for the printer overseas, and assembled the machine in a factory in Suzhou”
The houses are environmentally friendly and are also very cost effective in comparison to other more traditional building methods. With 3D printing, it is just a case of recycling mine tailings into material that can be used, rather than digging stone from the ground and chopping it into smaller blocks like the traditional techniques do.
The houses are checked at each stage of the build, to ensure that each part that has been printed is safe and secure. If people are to live in these houses however, the quality checks are likely to increase and become much more thorough.
Although this new technology could be a major threat to those working in the construction industry, real estate expert James Dearsley thinks otherwise:
“3D Printing has all sorts of possibilities for house building, but I am not sure the likes of Berkeley Homes or any international property developers should be that worried yet. Where this technology has real potential, however, is in the emerging countries, where housing demand is at its strongest. Here they need solid material and the ability to build both quickly and cost effectively.”
There is definitely a great need for fast and cost effective accommodation, and research has shown that by 2030, around 3 billion people are going to need housing. That equates to nearly 40% of the world’s population.
3D printing has been in the news a lot recently and it has definitely come a long way over the past few years. It is definitely not something to be ignored and there is even talk of using it to build houses on Mars and the Moon if they are ever inhabited.