3D printing a house in 24 hours, wait, what?

20 Nov 2015

A company looking for investment claims it can 3D print an entire building in just 24 hours, using a machine that can fit on the back of a small truck.

The Apis Cor 3D printer is just 5ft in diameter at the base, and 16fit wide across the arm, but it’s makers claim that it could soon play a pivotal role in building houses in the developing world.

The details: Okay, so in comparison to regular building, it takes just 24 hours to print a building, on site, in place. It has 640sqm reach from one point, leaves no waste behind and can print on two planes at once.

Apis Cor claims that the process could “save up to 70pc of frame construction costs in comparison to traditional methods”, which, when looking at just time, sounds realistic.

It weighs around 2.5 tonnes and just produces 8kw of energy a day, which the company helpfully points out is the equivalent of a handful of teapots and, quite simply, it’s very clever. Here is a prototype buzzing around; the speed is impressive.

3D-printing megastructures is nothing new, and it has been the sole focus of many a 3D-printing enthusiast for a number of years now. Stories emerge from China, South Korea and the Middle East on a relatively regular basis of different, eye-catching advances.

There is even a company in the Netherlands 3D printing a bridge from one side of a canal to the other, a magnificent feat of engineering, despite being on a smaller scale than one-day house builds.

The UN reckons 3bn people may need housing by 2030, which is a huge number and a very short timeframe. So 3D printing is the natural response to this, it seems.

There is an equivalent of this Apis Cor already doing the rounds, actually, with Italian company WASP behind the Delta printer. However it’s 40ft tall and 20ft wide, so is more on the industrial scale.

I still remember an episode of Tomorrow’s World that showed a giant 3D printer looking like a stand-out failure of a prediction. I was wrong.

House image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic