January 30, 2013

Homes Built By 3D Printers: What 2014 Has Got In Store

3D printing is a pretty impressive technology as it stands now, but one Dutch architect likes to think big. Like, as big as a house, big.

Developed in 1984 by Charles Hull, 3D printing has come a long way. The development of the technology has inspired tons of creatives to think of things in different ways. To add to that, houses are next on the list.

Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars is building a house that comes out of a 3D printer. Seriously.

It’s not as simple as drawing it up on a computer and printing it out though; it’ll be a process just like any other home.

According to Explaining the Future, “Stereolithographic 3D printers (known as SLAs or stereolithography apparatus) position a perforated platform just below the surface of a vat of liquid photocurable polymer. A UV laser beam then traces the first slice of an object on the surface of this liquid, causing a very thin layer of photopolymer to harden. The perforated platform is then lowered very slightly and another slice is traced out and hardened by the laser. Another slice is then created, and then another, until a complete object has been printed and can be removed from the vat of photopolymer, drained of excess liquid, and cured. Stereolithographic printers remain one of the most accurate types of hardware for fabricating 3D output, with a minimum build layer thickness of only 0.06mm (0.0025 of an inch).”

There are several different kinds of 3D printing technologies available, and some are even inexpensive enough for the average consumer. Starting at about $900 (USD) and going up to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s becoming a technology that every day people could be a part of. More than likely the printer being used by the architect is a SLA style printer. (Just on a much larger scale)

As reported by CNN, “Commercially available models like the MakerBot aren’t exactly up to the task. This requires a printer of enormous size. And Ruijssenaars found one in the D-Shape. Described as a “mega-scale free form printer” by its makers, the massive aluminum structure uses sand, which it forms back into a material that’s like marble.”

With unlimited technology and an equally unlimited imagination, Ruijssenaars is going to print a house.

He’s named it “Landscape House,” which he describes as “one surface folded in an endless Mobius band,” or sort of a giant figure 8. According to its creator, walking through its continuous looping design will seamlessly merge indoors and outdoors in an effort to model nature itself.”

The house will reportedly cost between $5-6 Million (USD).

The D-Shape will be used to print out blocks that are about 20 feet by 30 feet, according to the architect. The printed blocks will be accompanied by fiberglass and concrete reinforcements.

I’ve seen some neat little trinkets, such as action figures and other miscellaneous knick-knacks, and there were even reports of potential terrorism from 3D printer-made guns, but a house? That’s something pretty special.

Hopefully Ruijssenaars can get it done; I’m sure the world can’t wait to see the finished building.

Image Credit: Yabresse / Shutterstock

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