A few years ago, 3D printing technology was capable of turning out only the simplest small shapes. But in a stunning leap forward, a partnership between a San Franciscan startup and a Russian real estate developer has used the technology to construct an entire HOUSE. Almost without labour, in just 24 hours!
In recent times, 3D printing technology has made some great strides in its production content and quality, and now it has successfully printed the world’s first liveable house in Stupino, Russia. Responsible for this feat are San Francisco 3D printing startup Apis Cor, and Russian real estate developer PIK, who began the project in December of last year.
“Now we can say with confidence that with Apis Cor solution, the construction 3D printing has leaped to a new evolutionary stage,” said the project team. “The company and its partners are confident that the house in Stupino was the first step that can convince the world that 3D technology in the construction market is a reality.”
The house was constructed using a combined mobile 3D printer and automatic mix and supply unit, developed specifically by Apis Cor. The printer was able to construct the building from both the inside and outside, incredibly completing the entirety of the load-bearing walls, partitions and building envelope in a single day.
With an area of 38 square meters, the house comes complete with a hall, a bathroom, a living room and a small kitchen. The rooms are equipped with modern appliances courtesy of Samsung, one of five collaborators on the project. While the roof is built flat, it is able to endure snow load requirements with the use of polymer membrane patches, joined using hot air.
Complicating the process was the project’s timing; it was undertaken during the peak Russian winter, despite the fact that the printer’s concrete mix is only able to form at temperatures above 5°C. However, the equipment itself can function to temperatures of -35°C, allowing the house to be printed within the confines of an insulated tent. With geopolymers, however, houses will soon be able to be printed all year round.
Finishes, windows and insulation were installed and applied after the printing of the core structure, provided by third party suppliers. The printing process is flexible enough to allow for the various installations and fittings, adapting to required shapes.
One of the most notable aspects of the project is its cost-effectiveness, with construction costs totalling $10,134 or approximately $275 per square metre. These numbers account for the entire scope of work and materials required to erect a house, including the foundation, roof, exterior and interior finishes, and insulation. It’s a staggering 75% cheaper than old-fashioned building costs!