TreeHugger first showed the 3D printer designed by Russian engineer Nikita Chen-yun-tai two years ago, a machine that looked like a kind of tower crane that squirted out concrete. Now he is in the news again with his company Apis Cor with what they are calling "the first house printed using mobile 3D printing technology."
It is a little thing at 38 m² (409SF), designed as a demonstration project.
This project was selected specifically, as one of the main purposes of this construction is to demonstrate the flexibility of equipment and diversity of available forms. The house can be of any shape, including the familiar square shape, because the additive technology has no restrictions on design of new buildings, except for the laws of physics. It means it’s time to talk about the new fantastic potential of architectural solutions.
The machine printed the entire house in 24 hours, after which the printer was lifted out of the middle with a crane. It is a fascinating system; the walls are laid up in layers, each layer a sort of horizontal truss that can be filled with insulation and electrical services.
This house is small, but the printer is big enough to handle 132 m² (1420 SF) The whole house cost $ 10,134 or $275 per square meter, or about 25 bucks a foot including windows, doors, wiring and finishing, which is very cheap. However in the cost breakdown the wiring costs only $ 242 and the interior finishing $ 1178, so there may be some purchasing power parity issues in the conversions from rubles. Still, it is cheap.
Inventor Nikita Chen-yun-tai makes no small plans; in an interview he says "we are ready to be first to start building on Mars".
We plan to start printing houses in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, Australia. Even in Antarctica if needed. We want to global change public views that construction can’t be fast, eco-friendly, efficient and reliable all at the same time. Our goal is to become the biggest international construction company to solve problems of accommodation around the globe. When there won’t be enough space on Earth for humanity to live, we are ready to be first to start building on Mars.
Chen-yun-tai questions why we have such a housing crisis in North America. "When you sit with a cup of coffee at your laptop it seem strange that in an age of fast internet, 3D printers and Discovery channel some people still lack a space to live." But unfortunately the problem has never been the price of the physical house; it has been the land and the zoning. Until people get control of that, we might as well be building on Mars.