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3D Printed Housing - Who would have ever imagined?

3D printing has been a bit of a buzzword in the product design community in Melbourne and around the world over the past few years. It has certainly taken the ability to create 3D objects to the general public.  Once reserved for specialist prototyping companies,  3D parts can now be printed in the home with printers currently available from the likes of Officeworks, Jaycar and Kogan.  The printers have quickly evolved and can not only print plastic but everything from precious metals to timber, ceramics, food and now, you guessed it, housing.

Yes you are reading correctly and no your eyes don’t deceive you, a company in China is building housing using 3D printing.  This technique has not only been used to build small houses but they have successfully built a five story apartment block and a 1,100 square metre villa.  Winsun, a Chinese company have been developing the technology for 12 years and currently have more than 90 patents around the technology.

The technique is even environmentally friendly using a mixture of recycled construction waste, cement, glass fibre, steel and hardening agents.  This mixture is built up in a series of zig-zag layers creating a strong yet hollow section. This is later filled with steel reinforcement and insulation to meet national construction codes.  

This advancement in the construction industry claims to reduce materials by up to 60%, save up to 80% on labour time and reduce build time by 70%.  

The company claims to have constructed 10, 200 square metre houses in under 24 hours.  A Taiwanese company ordered a set of 10 of the 1,100 sq/m villa (a prototype). A smaller house is on display; representative of an order for 20,000 by the Egyptian Government.

With cost and time savings of this magnitude combined with the ability to easily produce organic forms plus its environmental credentials, this could very well be the future of housing.  Who knows where 3D printing will head next. In the meantime, I am really excited by this new technology.  If you would like to know more about any of this technology or need assistance in developing your product for prototyping please contact your product designers in Melbourne on +613 9413 9000.

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