3D printing works its way into large-scale construction, and we have only scratched the surface with potential ramifications. One of the names at the forefront of the 3D printing construction revolution is Contour Crafting. Recently, Contour Crafting’s production earned the grand prize from NASA in the 2014 Create The Future Design Contest. While the money and recognition, $20,000 and a feature in NASA’s magazine, indubitably affirm Contour Crafting’s place in 3DP innovation, there is now an eye on yet another revolution due to 3D printing.
Contour Crafting boasts the ability to print large scale structures from CAD files in various architectural forms. One immediate application cited is the promise to provide reliable housing in post-disaster circumstances. The robotic building construction developed by Berokh Kohshnevis aims to print buildings quickly and efficiently. Traditionally, there is a bevy of materials involved in construction with even more intricate and time-consuming labor. It will be interesting to see how this technology is adopted or resisted as it evolves and reaches the mainstream.
The process, unique to Contour Crafting and hence the grand prize, involves a very particular printing material. Walls for the quick building forms from the extrusion of a paste-like material akin to concrete then smoothed by a robotic trowel. The system allows designers freedom to experiment with design, finding harmony between aesthetics and pragmatism. This will definitely be a manufacturing revolution that will stir some emotions and zealous stances. Exciting and worth keeping your ears to the tracks from the train that refuses to slow down.