(Phys.org) —Shang Hai company WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co. has advanced the science of 3D printing by printing all of the parts needed to construct houses and then using those parts to build ten houses, all in just a single day. The finished houses are made of mostly concrete with other materials added for various purposes.
3D printing has become rather commonplace—college students across the country routinely print small objects both for educational purposes and for fun. And while the time may be approaching when most consumers will have a 3D printer in their home for on-demand product creation, the real action appears to be in the construction business. Some have suggested that houses of the future may take just an hour or so to print, reducing labor costs (and thus the cost of the house) to almost nothing. In this new effort, the team in China appears to be making that happen sooner rather than later.
WinSun isn't printing whole houses, instead, the company prints basic parts using concrete (with construction or industrial waste materials or tailing added to help reduce costs) as ink. The parts dry quickly and can then be used to assemble a complete 2,100 square foot house. Purists might argue that the company isn't technically printing houses, but the end result is the same—very little labor, low cost materials, and incredibly inexpensive (approximately $4,800) houses.
The houses built in China are in stark contrast to a project going on in Amsterdam, where a crew has begun work on a project that aims to print an entire 13 room house, including some of the furniture—all in one fell swoop. The timetable is three years and the finished product will likely wind up costing millions.
To print its house parts, WinSun uses a giant printer—it's 490 feet long by 33 feet wide and 20 feet deep—and unlike other companies, plans to use its printer to start printing parts for real houses for sale to consumers. To that end, the company has announced its intention to open 100 recycling factories to convert waste to make it suitable for adding to its concrete ink. Representatives for the country told the press that they believe their system can be used to create a very large number of affordable homes for impoverished people who now cannot afford a traditional house.
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