3D printing in construction is very straightforward in some applications, whether builders are experimenting with reinforcing mortar, 3D modeling and prototyping in architecture, or exploring the use of robotics. In sifting through all-too-common exaggerations regarding rapid-speed printing of homes and entire communities, however, most of us are learning to take such promises with a grain of salt. The conversation continues to evolve as 3D printed structures of all types emerge.
Recent progress in China regarding 3D printed homes takes a new and very interesting direction now though with the fabrication of isolation homes, meant to ward off COVID-19. In an attempt to help Pakistanis fight off potentially deadly germs, 15 isolation structures were shipped from Yingchuang Construction Technology‘s Shanghai Qingpu Plant, and the Suzhou Plant—to Islamabad.
Because the climate of Pakistan is humid and subtropical, the team at Yingchuang Construction Technology—also known as Winsun—contacted Pakistan officials through the Consulate General in Shanghai to come up with a specific airtight and thermally insulated design. Employing some of the most impressive benefits of 3D printing in this project, the Yingchuang team stated that rapid prototyping offered advantages, resulting in customized designs and high-performance 3D printing.
Not only that, Yingchaung claims to have the capability for printing 100 sets of isolation houses a day, with the interior fabricated in one piece. Water, electricity, doors, and windows had to be installed, and then each house could be inhabited. These micro-residences could be extremely effective in allowing for single-person dwellings—rather than allowing entire families to self-isolate together and in some cases, die together too as home transmission continues to pose a significant threat.
Several of these units were 3D printed in China—originally to be used for tourists; however, at the height of the pandemic, they were also used in an effort to ease the burden from hospitals as their workers required quarantine, along with others.
Also interesting are the plans that the designers have outlined for these 3D printed isolation homes after they have outlived their use, or after the fear of pandemic has passed. Suggestions include conversion into the following:
- Park restrooms
- Small cafes
- Security guard structures
- Disaster relief emergency rooms
- Tiny homes
- Tiny hotel rooms
Recycling is a possibility too, as the structures can actually be returned all the way to Shanghai for “crushing, sorting, grinding, and high-temperature treatment.” Afterward, the materials can be shredded and made into more 3D printing filament for further construction of homes.
3D printing has been at the forefront during the COVID-19 pandemic as the maker community, researchers, and medical professionals worked together to fabricate items like face shields and masks, ventilators, and more.[Source / Images: China News Network]
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