If you’re a technology freak like I am, you just can’t have missed 3D printing. This new technology is expanding and evolving at an almost scary rate, from the first simplistic shapes just a couple of years ago to the latest being – get this – a 3D printed house. That’s right, Dutch architects are testing the technology in building houses for the very first time, just as we speak.
Just in case you’ve somehow managed to miss this new technological phenomenon, with 3D printing you basically have a machine (the printer) which constructs just about anything you want for you. You just put in the material (which is just plastic in most cheaper versions for personal use, but can be basically anything in more advanced versions) and enter a blueprint into a connected computer. The printer starts creating, and you can basically get whatever you desire – including, apparently, a house.
“With 3D Printing, There’s Zero Waste”
The creators behind this new projects are the Dutch firm Dus Architects, who are now creating the first house in a Northern part of Amsterdam. According to Hedwig Heinsman of Dus, the primary reason is environment: “The building industry is one of the most polluting and inefficient industries out there. With 3D printing there is zero waste, reduced transportation costs, and everything can be melted down and recycled. This should revolutionize how we make our cities.”
As the 3D printers produce the actual house on site (made from shipped in material), the transportation costs are severely decreased, which is of extra high importance in an urban city like Amsterdam.
The Grown Ups’ Lego Machine
The actual building reminds us a lot of lego, as Dus Architects create piece after piece and then putting them together in a previously mapped out pattern. After three weeks on site, they have constructed a three meter high corner weighing approximately 180 kg, the first piece of the comlex puzzle. It’s still a slow process, which is expected to speed up as 3D printers become more efficient.
The printer in use is a KamerMaker, a scaled-up version of the common home 3D printer created with the firm Ultimaker. It works very similarly to a regular home printer, but can produce objects ten times the size, with a maximum of 2 x 2 x 3.5 meter.
The Future of 3D Printing
3D printing has quickly grown to be one of the most promising technologies for the future, both for regular homes and professional environments. It’s not just a sci-fi machine for house construction, but has also seen experiments in vastly different fields such as surgery, fashion, food, and space travel. This is without a doubt a technology we can expect to see a lot from in the future, even though it’s always hard to know beforehand in what exact way.
Some predict 3D printers to have their domain in the home – to be used when you’re missing a screw or when a piece of kitchen appliance breaks down. Others predict it to be used in professional environments, and discuss how it’s already been used by surgeons to 3D print skulls or kneecaps. It’s always hard to tell the future, but the one thing we can say for sure is we’ll definitely see more of this.