While still a long way off, 3D printed homes have jumped off the pages of science fiction into the realm of possibility
What does the world’s most complex face transplant, a human heart and firearms have in common? They have been achieved — or created — thanks in large part to 3D printing technology.
But how about a housing complex? Well, that idea is no longer a science-fiction pipe dream.
A group of experts at the Singapore Center for 3D Printing at Nanyang Technological University is currently developing plans to build the city’s future public housing by integrating the technology with a ‘LEGO-like’ strategy for assembly.
As reported by Clare Scott of 3DPrint, the idea is to use large-scale 3D printers to build one story at a time before transporting and stacking each individual floor. For anyone who played with LEGOs as a child — or still does as an adult — it is an apt comparison.
The official name of the method is ‘Prefabricated Pre-finished Volumetric Construction’ and NTU has built three dorms using the 0ne-story stacking strategy though each story was built via traditional construction practice.
Furthermore, while the entire complex would not be 3D printed, essential structural components would be.
While the idea has stepped into the realm of possibility, Singapore is still a long way off from seeing a 3D printed public housing complex. The most important component of the process, a printer large enough to build on such a scale, does not exist.
“In the area of housing there are quite big challenges, there is no assistance of 3D printers and no availability of printable concrete. We have to develop all this from scratch,” Professor Chua Chee Kai, Executive Director at the Singapore Center for 3D Printing Director, told 3DPrint.
Even if we had the technology, would the plan be realistic enough to pass through the government’s approval process? The team will need to prove that its methods can go above and beyond safety restrictions, as well as convince officials that it can comfortably house families dozens of stories in the air using non-traditional construction methods.
If all goes well, Singapore may not have to wait long for the answer to that question. According to the article, the team at Singapore Center for 3D printing will make a formal proposal to government officials within the year and will include a plan to develop a prototype in three years.
Zooming out, this project is coming out of a Singapore initiative launched in September 2015 called the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster. Though NTU is leading the programme, the University also partnered with National University of Singapore and Singapore University of Technology and Design.
The initiative is part of a S$200 million (US$142.9 million) Innovation Cluster Programme lead by the National Research Foundation and SPRING.
So, putting that together, if Chua and his team can successfully convince officials to move forward with the plan, the Singapore Center for 3D printing may have ample support to pursue the programme.
Ladies and gentlemen, 3D printing is growing up.
The post You won’t believe this: Singapore developing plans to 3D print homes appeared first on e27.
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