Even with the best laid plans, building a house can often turn into a never-ending nightmare of unexpected complications and construction delays. That is, unless you’re using a 3D printer. Then it’s merely the work of a day.
Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor at the University of Southern California, has designed a concrete-style material that can be printed from large 3D printers installed on a movable framework above the construction site. This process, which the professor calls Contour Crafting, could build a house from start to finish in less than a day, according to the Herald Sun.
“We anticipate that an average house, a 2,500 square foot house, can be built in about 20 hours,” said Mr. Khoshnevis.
The ramifications for this technology are pretty incredible. Architects could design homes with specifications only limited by gravity. Since there’s no need for mass-product materials, things like square walls and windows are no longer required.
As it has done with so many other industries, 3D printing could make home construction a highly individualized process. Slow and labor-intensive construction methods would no longer be an issue. Cookie cutter homes would be a thing of the past, unless you’re talking about building one in the shape of a gingerbread man.
Printing a house out of the specialized concrete would work much the same way as a household 3D printer but on a larger scale. The movable machines print out one layer of raw material at a time, allow it to quickly set, and then apply another layer on and another until the house is completed. All the plumbing and electrical work can be done along the way as well.
Building a family home from start to finish in less than a day is cool enough – but Mr. Khoshnevis isn’t quite finished. He believes NASA could use the same 3D printing construction techniques in space.
As it says on his website, “Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings.“
Mr. Khoshnevis presented his research at TEDxOjai, an independently organized TED event. Watch this video for a look at how his 3D-printed homes would be built.