3D printing of homes and structures seems like a plot straight out of a science fiction movie, right? After all, we are all used to the notion that a home takes months to build because of the sheer amount of effort required. But with the foray of companies into the 3D printing technology arena, this idea has turned into a reality. The best part? The cement printing technology is just going to keep getting more and more economical as technology advances.
How can a printer print concrete?
The easiest way to explain this would be to take the example of a coffee maker. You put in everything such as milk, water, sugar, and coffee powder in the desired proportion and you get a nice hot brew. The 3D cement printer works on similar principles. You have to feed in the raw material required, and out comes a structure made out of it. One of the hindrances, still, though is the material required for building these structures. Normal cement is still not conducive for these 3D printers, and a special type of powder has to be used for the same.
How is 3D printing of concrete beneficial?
The construction industry has always been guilty of producing a lot of waste that’s harmful for the environment, and also for contributing to the rising greenhouse emissions. It is said that 3D printing will help by producing one third lesser waste, and will consequently be much less energy intensive, and will help cut down on transportation costs, as well as produce considerably lesser toxic gases over the lifecycle of the product.
As the name suggests, the term ‘feedstocks’ is basically the material, or the additive mixture, that is fed to the 3D printers. Currently, printable feedstock is composed of clay, sand, crushed stone, and combined with a binding agent like fly ash for maintaining consistency and shape. Scientists are still working to analyse the best proportions of these components along with the order in which they must be added to the mixture to ensure the best output.
4-BHK home in less than a day?
3D printing is providing a ray of hope to several impoverished families living all over the globe, especially in the Central American country of El Salvador. Did you know? A California based start-up known as New Story has partnered with a construction firm called Icon to device a 3D printer that can print an entire 4 bedroom home for just $4,000! It’s being said that in a few months, the cost might even come down to just $3,500. This invention will make the production of low end homes a reality.
M.Tech and B.Tech Engineering graduates abroad at the Eindhoven Institute of Tech in Netherlands have already announced of grand plans to build the world’s 1st liveable homes by using 3D printers. That’s the quality of engineering abroad! There are opportunities for Indian engineering students to go abroad and spend a few quarters in an international university. Universities like ICAS Manipal offer this chance. As a student, you should avail these for your personal and professional betterment. Visit ICAS to find out more.