3D printing is all over the news. Every day it seems that these unusual machines are being used for something new. One day it’s letting people print sex toys without the embarrassment of going to an adult toy store, and the next day it’s creating human tissues that can replace organs in the event of failure. While 3D printers have a number of uses from exploring space to helping start home businesses a construction company in China is using the technology for something pretty radical; 3D printing homes.
WinSun, a construction company in China, is using 3D printers to create small pieces that are used in home construction; the company has a huge machine that prints homes from the ground up. The company made headlines last year by building houses with a 3D printer. Each of these modest houses can be produced for roughly $5,000. Using nothing but cement and construction waste ten of these houses can be produced every day. This year, WinSun managed to print a six-storey apartment building and an impressive villa.
The machine used to build this structure of approximately 1,100 square meters in size is 20 feet tall, 33 feet wide and 132 feet long. By using this construction method the company says they are able to save 60% on materials and the printing process saves 70% on time compared to traditional construction. 80% less labor is needed to build a 3D printed home.
Is The Sky Truly The Limit?
If it’s possible to 3D print houses using nothing more than recycled waste and cement, creating a simple, affordable, and green solution for housing, then what else will 3D printers be able to fabricate in the future? How much longer will it be until we can walk into a car dealership and have a certain model printed and fueled up on the spot? How long before we can print out new wardrobes from old clothes, or until we go the full Star Trek and have 3D printers that can take a base stock and create any sort of meal we want?
That depends on whom you ask. Judging from the latest round of inventiveness when it comes to 3D printing though it’s safe to say that this technology isn’t going to stop at fabricating plastic parts for industry, or letting people print out sex toys in the privacy of their own homes. Stay tuned!