They actually already have a prototye of a full scale house printer that is more cost effective than people to build. The printer takes in liquid concrete from a mixer and pumps it laying it down layer by layer. The same system is also designed to place all the wiring and plumbing conduits. When the printer is done all that is needed is the internal and external cosmetic finishing (optional) and the windows, doors, and roof. Only works for single story buildings right now but it is still under development. The system is capable of printing the entire house in 20 hours.
naperlou, it would be nice to have both. Do all of the prototyping with the printer and when it comes time to mass produce use machines. That is unless all you do are one-offs in which case a printer might be ideal. Having the two is the best of both worlds!
Ann, I need to look into this, but just thought I'd ask. Let's say I print out a part, but I don't like it and I re-engineer it and want to print it again. Can I melt down the prototype and re-use the material? I bet you can...along with all the scrap that is produced. Just wondering. A lot of factors involved in this.
Cadman-LT, interesting question. You're right--there are a lot of factors involved. Actually you've asked two questions: first, can you melt down the material and second, can you reuse it presumably in the same 3D printer. Whether you can melt the materials depends on whether they're metal or plastic. Since the metals used in 3D printing/AM are powder metals specifically formulated for this process, even if you had the right equipment to melt the object you couldn't reuse the melted metal. There's a similar problem with the plastic, at least in many processes. Of course, for some processes, even if the end user doesn't have the equipment and expertise to recycle the plastic, the manufacturers do. And BTW I'm talking about commercial and industrial processes/equipment, not the maker end.
Ann, thanks I thought it was a good question too and thanks for the info. Recycling would be just one more benefit. I mean how many new housing projects do you go buy and see all of the scrap? Cabe had a good point as well. If you want to remodel, just recycle your old room into a new one...lol
I think this is a very interesting idea, guys: recycling the building materials, anyway. I wonder how much (if at all) this potential has been looked at by the inventors of the various different 3D building techniques. Because the ability to do so depends a great deal on how the materials are designed.
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