Much of the efficiency of prefab comes from computer-assisted design. Designers come armed with digital tools versus hammers and nails. Still, traditional construction methods are required to get the job done. In the last few years 3D printing has edged its way closer to the forefront. As a marker of cutting edge technology, printing everything from shoes and apparel to food (yes, food!), 3d printing has been steadily making its way into home building. The very nature of prefab is simplified, high-quality construction in less time than traditional building methods. The incorporation of 3D printing was a natural progression in a bid to make the whole process even more streamlined.
How Printed Houses Works
3D printing involves large, multidirectional printers loaded with materials that take cement, resin and various metals. Layer by layer, structures of various shapes and sizes can come to life in mere minutes. This innovative process has already seen the construction of a few homes and building around the world. Companies like WinSun (based in China) have produced structures like multi-level mansions that still meet safety standards for livable homes.
Why Choose a Printed House?
With prefab construction, one of the main selling points is already the time factor, cutting building times nearly in half depending on the structure you’re looking to build. Adding 3D printing to the mix could drastically cut this time down even more to weeks or days from the design stage to the final touches. It also reduces the ecological footprint of any building project, as waste is virtually non-existent and minimal labour is required in the constructing process.
Current Home Printers
Another Chinese company ZhuoDa truly has the right idea about merging the worlds of 3D printing and prefab construction. They recently erected a 2-storey villa using the technology. Six separate “modules” were created using 3D printing, then shipped to the build site for construction. The entire process took approximately 3 hours and onlookers were then invited inside to view the home’s sturdy interior.
Though these projects require massive, specifically designed printers, once a prefab building company or factory owns one the manufacturing possibilities are endless. Creating a more “automated” process in this way will make prefab building and homes more accessible. This can do much in the way of providing more options for affordable housing. Prefab building isn’t going away anytime soon, so it’s definitely worth exploring all the new and innovative ways the process can be even more efficient than ever before.