Having raved about 3D printing technologies and marvelled at the practical uses of using the technology in everyday life, we’ve done our best to cover the most interesting and fascinating applications of three-dimensional printing. We’ve seen everything from the strange (3D printed models of foetus’s), to the inspiring (the story of Emma and her “magic arms”). But what if 3D printing could be used for something more? What if the technology could be applied to build entire homes?
Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of Southern California might have the answer. The concept in question represents a major leap for the scalability of 3D printing, demonstrating the technology needn’t be restricted to constructing miniature machine parts or small-scale models. In fact, Professor Khoshnevis is behind a 3D printing system that could effectively ‘print’ an entire home in less than a single day – just 20 hours to be precise.
Called Contour Crafting, the technology would not only be able to lay the building’s foundations and walls; but adds everything from floor tiles, plumbing and electrical wiring as it goes, only needing windows and doors to be fitted once the printing is complete to finish off the job. It’s a remarkable, and highly practical, technology that could also prove invaluable in impoverished areas to create low-cost, safe and custom housing on a small time-scale; or in the aftermath to natural disasters to provide the new-found homeless, shelter.
Currently working with the likes of NASA in utilising the technology to build lunar structures (including landing pads, road infrastructure, hangars and structures with built-in radiation protection), we have a feeling this is just the very beginning. How long until 3D printers are building whole streets, neighbourhoods even?
For more information on the technology, head on over to the Contour Crafting website.