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What’s Next, a 3D Printed House? Umm, Yes.
Posted on April 5th, 2017 by Ken Klapproth in New Materials & Applications
Mature and inexpensive as a building material, concrete has long been a staple in both commercial and residential construction. If you thought precast components set the bar for speed and efficiency, you haven’t considered 3D printing.
Innovation is not just about new technologies, it’s also about their application across industries. Sometimes that “ah-hah” moment is the realization that a technique you may have witnessed in the aerospace industry could revolutionize consumer electronics. By focusing on the “function” you are trying to change/improve/replace, you are more likely to think outside the box and find something truly innovative.
That was precisely my impression upon reading the latest news from Apis Cor – a San Francisco Bay area startup with offices in Russia. The underlying principles at work in their approach to 3D printing concrete structures have been under development as Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) in the aerospace industry for some time now. Oak Ridge National Labs won a Guinness World Book of Records award for their application of the techniques discussed here.
Instead of plastics or powdered metal, Apis Cor pumps concrete to its print head. Pivoting the print head about a central support column, they’ve successfully made the mechanism light enough and compact enough to transport to the job site and set up quickly. You can see the process in action in the following video hosted on their YouTube channel:
According to company publications, the test home featured above was built in 24 hours and they were able to erect the 3D printing device in under an hour. Coming in at a finished cost of $10,134 for 38 square meters or approximately $24 per square foot, the company also claims a 70% reduction in traditional labor, material, and construction methods. With an average home construction price of $150 per square foot in the United States, perhaps Apis Cor could warm US buyers to a concrete home in lieu of the traditional wooden construction approach?
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All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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