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Giant 3D House Printers

While methods for assembling roads, bridges, and tunnels have evolved over the years, the procedures for home construction remain virtually the same. In Third World countries, this failure to modernize has cost many lives each year through dangerous construction practices, and delays the process of transforming impoverished nations into cultured societies.

Recently, the method of 3D printing has gained popularity in the manufacturing and scientific industry. These printing devices are capable of taking certain construction materials and turning them into 3-Dimensional products. So far, organs, tools, artwork, and even guns have been printed and sold in retail stores worldwide.

Scientists and researchers are looking at current utilizations of 3D printers, and envision taking them a step further in commercialization. They hope that in the next few years, advances will be made towards the creation of giant 3D printers capable of building houses, apartment complexes, schools, and more.

The benefits that this type of construction method provides are well worth the research into the technology. For example, commercial 3D printers will lower the casualty rate of construction workers in poorer nations and reduce the time and costs of traditional construction. Rather than taking months or years to build a neighborhood, the job could be completed in a matter of weeks.

Behrokh Khoshnevis, a Professor of Engineering at USC, has been leading the research into developing these massive 3D printers that he claims can design and build a full home in 24 hours. He’s titled the process, “Contour Crafting”, and hopes to begin implementing this technology in underdeveloped nations soon.

Prof. Khoshnevis also anticipates sending these printers to the Moon and Mars for future colonization projects. His website reads, “Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings”.

Along with the costs and lives saved by this construction practice, 3D printing leaves a minimal carbon footprint compared to diesel tractors and trucks necessary for traditional construction. At this time in development, Contour Crafting has the ability to design and build everything inside a complete home, minus the doors, windows, and electrical installation. This is where the construction process involves human workers, along with trained operators for the 3D machinery.

Even though this futuristic technology exists only on paper, small-scale 3D printers are very much a reality in the manufacturing industry. In the next few years, we may have our home designed and built by Contour Crafting, which opens up the door for many new and exciting possibilities.

Sources:

Daily Mail – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2187623/ContourCraftingbuildshouse-24-hours.html
Contour Construction – http://www.contourcrafting.org/
Smart Planet – http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinkingtech/uhoh-3dprinterproducesarealgun/12527?tag=searchriver

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