Scaled up 3D printing technology could be used to build a house in under 24 hours, according to an engineer from the University of Southern California.
Contour Crafting is a layered fabrication technology that uses a huge moveable gantry to build a house in the same way that a 3D printer deposits layers of plastic.
Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis claims that his Contour Crafting construction method can build entire houses with all the fixtures and fittings.
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Concrete is deposited in layers through a nozzle that moves around the building site with the help of a gantry
Those behind Contour Crafting believe it could be used to develop entire neighbourhoods
Strong walls are built up layer by layer using concrete with automatic reinforcement, while plumbing and electrics are also added by the system during the building process.
The nature of the technology means it will also be possible to create curved walls and architecture that is both ‘exotic’ and ‘beautiful’, according to Khoshnevis.
Khoshnevis says current construction methods are slow, labour intensive and costly.
He believes that Contour Crafting could build houses for a fraction of the cost and in significantly less time.
Khoshnevis says that a 2500-square-foot house can be built in approximately 20 hours with Contour Crafting.
Contour Crafting is a scaled up version of 3D printing. MakerBot (above) is a 3D printer that costs around £600 and uses reels of plastic to print objects
Printed 3D sculptures such as this are becoming increasingly popular as the technology is commercialised
As a result, it could be ideal for emergency housing, commercial or low-income structures.
However, it could also be used to print out customised luxury homes, according to Khoshnevis.
Furthermore, he believes that the technology could be applied beyond our planet.
‘Contour Crafting technology has the potential to build safe, reliable, and affordable lunar and Martian structures, habitats, laboratories, and other facilities before the arrival of human beings,’ his website reads.
The technology has been developed over several years and was presented at the TEDx conference in February.