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Chinese company prints 10 houses in 24 hours

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World Cement,

At last week’s IEEE-IAS/PCA Conference, Dr Mark Johnson of the US Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office, gave a keynote address in which he talked a little bit about 3D printing. This is a relatively new field and one that could hold great potential for all other manufacturing industries.

In the news yesterday, I noted two articles about 3D printing in construction. The first, a gentleman from Minnesota interested in printing a 10 x 15 m, 2-storey home. Mr Andrey Rudenko told, “My current focus is building well-insulated small or medium-sized homes of a contemporary design, definitely onsite. As an experienced builder, I know that to avoid problems in the future, it is more important to produce homes of a good quality, which may take longer to build than cheaper homes made quickly.”

One of the challenges Mr Rudenko describes in this article is getting the right settings for the conrete pump to make sure the concrete hardens by the time the printer comes round to add the next layer. Good to know that concrete will still be in the mix, at least.

The second story came from China, where a company built 10 houses in 24 hours using a 3D printer. The homes were constructed largely from recycled materials and cost less than US$5000 each to build. The company claims the houses could help ease housing crises in developing countries. The 3D printer creates building blocks by layering a cement/glass mix in structural patterns that leave air gaps to act as insulation. The blocks are printed in a factory by a 6.6 m high printer that is 10 m wide and 32 m long before being assembled onsite. A video of the process can be viewed here: 

What are your thoughts on the potential of 3D printing for construction and manufacturing?

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