The United States Navy is funding the project on 3D printing buildings. This project, called Contour Crafting, has the purpose of printing out 2,500-square-foot buildings in only one day using concrete. The project could be very useful to armies worldwide, as it gives them the ability to quickly create houses in environments with little or no structure. Another application of Contour Crafting? Providing for shelter on the Moon.
Building a house using 3D printing technologies works with computers and manufacturing programs. The software stores and executes the architectural designs, which can be customized on a construction site. A 3D printer will build the wall layer by layer and those walls will be hollow to save on materials and make them lighter. However, team leader Behrokh Khoshevis has pointed out during a presentation in 2013 that the walls will be stronger than their traditional counterparts. Also striking is the fact that the buildings don’t necessarily need to be linear, as the printers can print out curves.
Despite the fact that we can’t yet tell you the exact amount of money the Navy will invest in this project, it sure is a step forward for the team behind Contour Crafting. The advantage for the military world of quickly setting up homes in new environments is very clear, but are there more parties to benefit from this development in the world of construction? Well, what to think of the world of construction itself for instance? Every year as many as 400,000 construction workers become injured and 6,000 to 10,000 construction workers get killed in the U.S. alone.
Replacing them by 3D printers would mean a lot of human lives will be saved each year. Construction workers will find other ways of making themselves useful in the field of construction or other professional fields. Khoshevis even claims Contour Crafting will be creating new jobs and that it will provide older workers as well as women a chance to work in new areas of construction.
Other purposes? This technique could solve the world shelter problem in the third world, as it could print out houses in such a short time, whilst cutting costs on construction workers. Another “crazy plan” of Khoshevis is to use those printers on the Moon and Mars, in order to quickly print out buildings. These planets are being targeted for human colonization before the end of the new century, according to the Contour Crafting man.
Contour Crafting is set to enter the commercial market in about two years.
Credits image: Contour Crafting.