It might not be too many years before 3D printed houses start popping up in a street near you. Several construction companies in China have printed houses using 3D technology, which not only slashes the construction costs, but also the build time.
The 3D printing technology
As you can imagine the 3D printer required to print the essential components needed to construct a house is pretty large. Yingchuang Construction Technique, responsible for building more than twelve 3D printed houses including a villa and a five-storey apartment building, uses four 3D printers which measure 6.6 metres tall and are the length of a basketball court.
For now, Yingchuang Construction Technique is keeping quiet about the 3D printing process they use. However another Chinese construction company, who also prints houses, revealed that they print the walls one at a time, layer by layer. The ‘ink’ used by their 3D printers comprises of a mixture of construction waste and fine cement. They claim that it is both cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.
Quicker build time
Unlike conventional building, 3D printed houses are quicker to print and assemble on site. Using their four printers, Yingchuang Construction Technique can print ten 200-square-metre villas within 24 hours. Now that’s impressive. Their 1,100-square-metre villa in the Suzhou Industrial Park, Jiangsu Province took just one week to print and assemble. If the same villa had been built using traditional building methods it would have taken anything from one to three months.
Just as impressive is the two-storey villa in Xi’an, Northwest China’s Shanxi province, built by the other construction company, which took less than 3 hours to assemble on site.
Cheaper construction costs
According to the People’s Daily Online, Yingchuang Construction Technique claims that, ‘3D printing technology can save between 30 and 60 percent in building materials and shorten production times by 50 to even 70 percent, while decreasing labor costs by 50 to 80 percent.’
Fully equipped homes
As with any new home, the 3D printed versions come fully equipped with kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms and lounges etc. In fact, you’ll even find a 3D printed sink in the bathroom of Yingchuang Construction Technique’s villas. All they need to complete the look is a 3D printed tap designed by DXV.
We’ve already witnessed the triumphs and the hiccups associated with pre-fabricated homes in the TV series, Grand Designs. How long will it be until Kevin McCloud is showing us round a huge 3D printer and the end result, a 3D printed house?