3D printer: this new type of machines, able to give life to objects in three dimensions, is increasingly taking hold, from prototypes to objects reproduced to scale up to spare parts and medical implants.
News arrive also in the construction industry through the project of researchers at the University of Southern California that uses a technology called Contour Crafting, created by Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis. Basically it is “an increase in the size of the 3D printing up to those of a building,” says Khoshnevis. One made by the professor is probably the world’s largest 3D printer that, once connected to a computer, deposited one above the other layers of cement and building walls, bases, and floors, so it is able to build a real house. The giant printer may be transported and installed by only two specialists because after laying the rails on which moves the machine and connecting everything to the computer, the printing process could proceed independently.
This new technology can greatly reduce the amount of waste produced by 30 to 60%, the labor required by 80% and lead times by 50 to 70%, all factors that impact on the final cost of the product. In addition, the 3D printing allows you to create structures and buildings in a totally innovative mode than before pushing a new way of thinking and planning.
Currently there are not many projects with the use of 3D printers, but the primacy of the highest building in the world with this technology is a five-storey building in the area of Suhzou made by the chinese Winsun Decoration Design Engineering. The Winsun has gradually made all parts of the building, including interior and exterior decorative elements, and the parts were then assembled manually on site, using procedures similar to those used for prefabricated buildings.
Another important project is that of the dutch architecture firm DUS Architects, which is trying to accomplish in Amsterdam canal house entirely created with the technique of 3D printing, whose facade reminds traditional dutch. The building, begun in 2014, will be built in three years and will have thirteen rooms. The pieces will be made on the spot by Kamer Maker, a great 3D printer built specifically for this project can print large objects up to 2.2 x 2.2 x 3.5 meters.
Despite the 3D printing has opened new visual and stimulated the interest and imagination of designers, in the field of architecture is still struggling to take off. There remain doubts about resistance to weathering and durability of this type of buildings, there are still limitations that constrain the size of the buildings as possible, although there are also various demonstration projects in place, no one has yet managed to go further, creating an entire structure that can actually be inhabited or used. If 3D printing will be the future of the building is still not a certainty, but a great challenge.