The construction industry is ripe with potential for enjoying all the benefits of 3D printing—from innovative hardware and futuristic-looking robotics to complex software and a variety of materials and robust composites. The thought of an affordable, 3D-printed home is a concept that appeals to many consumers worldwide, leaving numerous developers to throw out promises for an assortment of ‘firsts,’ from homes, low-income housing developments, to villages and offices.
Now, construction developers are partnering with sculptor Michal Trpak in the Czech Republic to 3D print the “first inhabitable house.” The project, and the structure, should be complete by June. Meant to show off most of the classic perks in 3D printing, such as speed in production, lowered use of waste and carbon footprint, and affordability, the house is also … wait for it … meant to be perched atop of a boat.
“Prvok od Burinky (Protozoon) will have three rooms — a bathroom with toilet, living room with a kitchen and a bedroom,” explains the project announcement. “The building will be anchored on a pontoon and is a year-round livable house. “The house offers eco technologies such as recuperation, recirculation shower, remote control, green roof, as well as reservoirs for drinking, utility and sewage water.”
3D printing of the 43 sqm / 463 square-foot structure is projected to take 48 hours, with the entire building to be finished in two months.
“The robot itself is a Czech innovation from the workshop of Trpak’s other initiative Scoolpt. A young architect and programmer Jiri Vele programmed an automotive robot for 3D printing concrete.
“Scoolpt, in collaboration with Master Builders Solutions (BASF), developed a new concrete mixture for printing that is enriched with nano-polypropylene fibers, plasticizers that improve plasticity and produce better organic shapes, and a setting accelerator. This type of concrete hardens after 24 hours to standard firmness of the foundations of a classic family house (i.e. 25 MPa). After total hardening in 28 days, the concrete acquires the values (65 MPa) — the same as in bridges.”
Some developers have already focused on additive construction at a large scale, with Italy’s WASP serving as a perfect example—and also responsible for many different projects and collaborations using cement, locally sourced clay, and other mixtures. The use of concrete, accompanied by 3D printing and additive manufacturing processes allows for a host of new techniques.
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