Super Fast 3D Printing is Disrupting Construction One Layer at a Time
The application of 3D printing in construction is not new, but it continues to evolve and disrupt existing building methods. Despite clear strides forward by Chinese companies such as Winsun Global, the latest and somewhat unexpected development in 3D printed structures has happened in Russia.
In just 24 hours, disruptive 3D printing firm Apis Cor built a 400-square-foot house with a living room, bathroom, kitchen and hallway. This is a major blow to competitors, but also a seriously important step towards readily available housing at an affordable price. As well as disrupting construction, the company’s mobile 3D printer has implications for numerous other industries and environments – but which ones, and how?
The benefits of superfast, 3D printed construction
Superfast 3D printed structures are beneficial because, for a start, they can be built so quickly. This is invaluable, considering that demand for housing is currently so high. The next clear advantage is monetary. According to HomeAdvisor, the price of constructing a house with traditional building methods can sit anywhere between $175,000 and $445,000. In comparison, the house made by Apis Cor cost around $10,000. Just let that sink in. If you can create physical structures with such low overheads, then the need for reliable homes across the globe could be alleviated. The quirky little house was built to last too, and the company claims that it will stand for 175 years. Apis Cor aren’t keeping the tech to themselves – customers can contact a specialist and purchase the entire kit. At the moment, the Russian firm is looking for partners and subcontractors to join their construction projects. From a business perspective, the success of 3D print construction projects signals the beginning of intensified global competition. Companies should take advantage of the opportunity to forge partnerships whilst it’s still there. Once you add superfast printing to the growing availability of new 3D printing materials, the possibilities really do become endless. But exactly how disruptive will new 3D printers be, in construction and other applications?
Disrupted construction . . . and much more
Superfast 3D printers will disrupt building methods yet again, potentially making traditional methods obsolete. Apis Cor’s mobile printer will also change the way that building suppliers work. Instead of having to own an industrial-grade 3D printer (which can still be costly) mobile 3D printers could become part of a supplier’s inventory and be moved from site to site as and when needed. Outside of the construction industry, superfast 3D printing also opens up wider possibilities concerning politics and emergency response. The demand for housing is a worldwide phenomenon, even in the West where standards of living are comparably high. Regardless of which country you’re in, if a government can provide suitable housing for its citizens, it will do them a lot of favours. Instead of endless applications, finding housing could become an on demand service. In emergency situations like the aftermath of natural disasters, the need for accommodation is particularly pressing. 3D printed structures could help to rebuild society after these events in areas prone to fires, tsunamis or earthquakes.
Apis Cor claims that they can already print entire cottage villages. The little house also opens up opportunities in developing environments. A lack of institutionalised education, for instance, could be combatted by the speedy construction of schools. The scope for positive disruption is huge, but the wider adoption of 3D printed housing won’t be without obstacles. There will still be a need to gain planning permission, which may become more intense as regulators work to combat the influx in physical structures. There’s also the question of who and which types of building you prioritise. Unfortunately, companies are likely to team up with the highest bidders, and humanitarian concerns may take a back seat.
Even though Apis Cor have only built one house, they’ve proven that they have the technology to create sturdy accommodation within an astounding timeframe – for a fraction of the cost of traditional building methods. And if you can build a house, why not houses? In the future, why not take on more ambitious projects like medical facilities and schools? The availability of quality, compact homes built within hours has endless possible applications and could provide the answer to the ongoing problem of housing in an overpopulated world.
Will Russia overtake China as the leader in 3D printed construction? How else might super-fast 3D printing affect housing? In future, will innovative companies be able to print entire infrastructures? Share your thoughts and opinions.