An experimental revolution is underway in China to use 3D printing techniques to build houses. This rapid construction process was demonstrated to build ten small houses in 24 hours predominantly from recycled materials. The company behind it is Suzhou-based construction materials firm Winsun.
Although the initial houses produced may look a little on the plain side. They do, however, show the potential for an evolution in new building materials and 3D printing construction processes to achieve rapid construction. This modular construction method is akin to concrete wall construction which has been around for many years. However, this process does offer the potential of complete onsite construction methods for the assembly of sustainable and affordable homes.
Rather than use labour intensive bricks and mortar construction, the developed system extrudes a mix of high-grade cement and recycled glass fibre which are deposited in layers. This process is similar to traditional extrusion 3D printing processes.
Starting with an architectural CAD design, the tool paths are produced considering insulation materials, plumbing, electrical lining and windows, which can later be outfitted once the underlying structure has been assembled. The diagonally reinforced print pattern leaves plenty of air gaps to act as insulation.
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