3-D Printing Can Build A House In A Snap!

3D House Printer

Apparently, we’ve come a long way since prefab housing construction—the answer to lower costs in residential construction.

The University of Southern California has taken it step further by creating a macro printer that can construct an entire house in less than 24 hours.

Contouring Crafting is a technique developed by Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis which replaces numerous construction workers with a full size 3D printing machine that pours and sculpts rooms, walls and floors with amazing speed. Prototypes have already been produced and the results are looking very good for future development and manufacturing expansion. 

The Contour Crafting Process

The beginning starts with a site that has been leveled and cleared in the same way a traditional plot is planned. Workers then assemble a rail system that hangs overhead in a gantry-type fashion. The rails sit just outside the width of the proposed exterior walls and glides along a track way. A holding tank filled with ready-mixed concrete and a hanging discharge nozzle is attached to the gantry. A robotic component manipulator is used to follow a pre-set computer pattern program and spit out concrete to form hollow walls and room patricians. A built-in trowel is used to shape the edges and mating surfaces. After the walls have set, the interior of the walls are filled with concrete via the discharge nozzle. The automated system works from the ground floor up, building in layers, sculpting either straight or curved walls in any height and length.

Contour Crafting Superiority

The only manual labor required is for construction workers to hang doors and windows, in addition to routing electrical components and wires. Yet it does not mean a significant number of workers will be displaced. There will still be a need for plumbing and other specific installations. The robotic system is automated to the point that it only needs monitoring and checked for tank level. The inventor, Khoshnevis, says “It’s a CAD/CAM solution, designed on a computer and built by a computer.” He believes the system can create “entire neighborhoods built at a fraction of the cost.” Contour Crafting gets the job done within a day at a fraction of the cost, with an improved safety and diversity that is unprecedented in architecture. The wall fabrications are also superior in strength to traditional building methods. Tested walls have been rated at 10,000 pounds per square inch (PSI). The average for regular walls is 3,000 PSI.

Advantages and Perks

Contour crafting would reduce the cost of home-owning, making affordable shelter available to all those who are misplaced or homeless. Contour Crafting homes would be ideal as emergency shelters and re-location housing for disaster relief areas. Over a billion people who live in the world are either misplaced or living in slum conditions. Those people would be upgraded to safe and acceptable living conditions, and as a result, disease and pestilence would be reduced, creating a healthier and less hazardous environment.

The Contour Crafting system has the potential to build entire neighborhoods of single or multiple-level structures. It could build tower blocks or large office blocks by utilizing multiple nozzles and gantry systems that could climb upward to create and finish upper floors. 

Watch this TEDx talk by Behrokh Khoshnevis explaining the process: