I read some random stuff pretty regularly. I just landed on an article from The Economist about 22 Emerging Technologies for 2022 that talks about a new process to use a giant 3D printer to build a house. Pretty incredible stuff for sure.
The walls of this house are being built with a 3D printer. The printer moves a steel rail back and forth between columns that straddle the building site. Following automated plans, it lays a line of wet concrete a few inches thick as it goes. Then it coils one layer on top of the last, building up the interior and exterior walls of the 1,700-square-foot three-bedroom. Next, workers add a traditional wood-framed roof.
From on interview with NPR “Only a handful of 3D-printed homes have been built nationwide. Habitat has only built one other, in Virginia. And right now, the technology is still too new to be cost-effective, says Mark Stapp. He’s a longtime developer and director of the real estate program at Arizona State University. Stapp says framing a traditional house might only come out to 15% of the overall cost. So when it comes to 3D printing, he doesn’t expect concrete would reduce the price of materials all that much”
“But he says 3D printing could reduce labor costs significantly and help in places where there’s not enough labor available, like in Phoenix. Stapp says he could see it making a difference maybe five years down the road.”
That said this could really help low income and 3rd world countries. I wonder how long before the Gates foundation gets in on this one. Pretty cool concept!