WinSun Decoration Design Engineering, a Chinese construction company, has harnessed the power of 3-D printing technology to build 10 one-story houses in Shanghai in just a single day.
Each of the houses is 33 feet (10 meters) wide, and 22 feet (6.6 meters) high, for an approximate square-footage of 2,100 feet. They’re built layer by layer with a quick drying cement, similar to the way that bakers would ice cakes, and cost less than $5,000 to build. As each layer gets added, it’s checked for quality, since there aren’t any building codes pertaining to 3-D printing construction in China.
“We purchased parts for the printer overseas, and assembled the machine in a factory in Suzhou,” aid Mia Yihi, the CEO of WinSun CEO, to the International Business Times. “Such a new type of 3-D printed structure is environment-friendly and cost-effective.”
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time there’s been 3-D printing construction technologies put to use. University of Southern California researchers created a printer that could build an entire 2,500 square-foot house in just a single day.
“It is an interesting technology,” director of construction technologies at Habitat for Humanity Derrick Morris said to Mashable. “We’ve been watching this with some interest over the past couple of years. A lot of the time, it’s more about changing the mind of the consumer.”
This fact that this feat was accomplished has several implications. It means that constructing houses could be more affordable, and faster. There are even some hopes that skyscrapers might someday be built using the same technology. The new method is also sustainable. Though the company is keeping its quick drying cement formula a secret, it claims that the cement is made from recycled materials.
In addition construction, 3-D printing technology could also revolutionize manufacturing processes. Such technology could allow manufacturers to experiment with ideas, make what’s needed when it’s needed, customize specific parts or tools necessary for unique projects, create prototypes, and also do limited test runs.
“As large scale 3-D printing capabilities continue to evolve, so will its usage — beyond manufacturing, across all major industries,” explains Emmy Horton, Marketing Coordinator, Parlec, Inc.”
The project and its implications were impressive enough for China to announce that its first 3-D printed housing project will be started in the major city of Qingdao, which has a population of nearly nine million people.