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Additive Manufacturing: The Race is on for 3-D Printed Houses!

Blog Written by Hutch Hutchison, Director, Technology & Engineering Matching, FuzeHub
One of the loftiest goals for a number of researchers in Additive manufacturing is to one day print houses.  Earthbound, 3-D Printed housing is taking shape across the world.
A recent article points out that Dutch architectural firm, DAS, has built a 3-D Printer, encased in a somewhat portable tower, with the aim of 3-D printing canal houses. The printer uses the FDM process to extrude plastic material, forming building blocks for constructing the buildings. They claim that they will be opening the “World’s First 3-D Printed building, but they say it will take three years. The printer is in place as of last week, so the countdown has begun. Check out the article here:
Kamer Maker Printer
But! There’s competition! Enrico Dini, an Italian architect was featured in my blog, Additive Manufacturing: A New Tool in the Toolbox, Part 4. Dini uses a binder-printing method to fuse marble powder in this video:
D-Shape – Building Buildings?
Dini seems more advanced than the Kamer-Maker. Will he be able to lay claim to the World’s First? He’s got 3 years!
Not to be outdone, a USC Professor, Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis, has also been inventive, in proposing Contour Crafting, a means to extrude high-pressure cement from a X-Y gantry frame, that raises in the z-axis like any other printer. We saw the Ted-X video in Additive Manufacturing Part 5, but going to Contour Crafting’s website has that video, as well as two others that let you in on the technology, with some really well-done animation on the scaling:
Contour Crafting
Professor Khoshnevis has a great idea, and so far has been able to produce concrete walls, but on a smaller scale than a whole house. The Ted-X video on their site portrays him as somewhat idealistic, suggesting the method can produce houses for the poor of the world, inexpensively, and within 2- hours! Longest term, he sees Contour Crafting as a means to build buildings on other planets! Hmm, wonder where they get the water for that cement.
So, the race is on. It would seem that any of the three methods could produce a building within 3 years. It is exciting to think that it’s not very far off!

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