Indian Army builds its first green 3D printed houses

The Indian Army’s Military Engineering Services (MES) has completed its first 3D printed houses in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

Built to meet the growing accommodation needs of the Indian Armed Forces, the two houses were 3D printed by Chennai-based construction start-up Tvasta in just 30 days, and are reportedly the first of their kind in the country.

3D printing houses for soldiers

The MES constructed the 3D printed houses at its South-Western Air Command base in Gandhinagar using Tvasta’s concrete 3D printing technology and self-built construction 3D printers. 

The start-up has continued developing its construction 3D printing technology since completing what it claimed to be India’s first 3D printed structure back in 2018, and later the country’s first additively manufactured home. Now, the firm has worked with the MES to build two 3D printed houses for the army’s soldiers.

The homes, which span 700 square feet, were completed in just three weeks in order to meet the rising accommodation demands of the Indian Armed Forces. The homes are designed to be disaster-resistant and meet Zone-3 earthquake specifications. 

An official press release from the Indian Army noted, “these structures also stand testament for the solidarity of the Indian Armed Forces in fostering home-grown technologies that are focused on indigenization of defense technologies, as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.”

‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ translates to ‘self-reliant India’, and is the vision of the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the country emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. 3D printing was one technology identified by the MES as helping to address to shortage of accommodation for soldiers, due to the technology’s rapid speed in meeting the minimal urgent needs of such housing over existing construction techniques. 

The 3D printed houses were inaugurated yesterday in the presence of the MES’ Engineer-in-Chief Lieutenant General Harpal Singh, and demonstrate the potential of construction 3D printing technologies in future defense applications. 

The Indian Army's Military Engineering Services' 3D printed houses. Photo via Hindustan Times.
The Indian Army’s Military Engineering Services’ 3D printed houses. Photo via Asian News International.

Construction 3D printing by Armed Forces

Additive manufacturing is being increasingly deployed for a wide range of military applications, including for the construction of buildings and other various structures. 

Back in 2017, the US Army’s Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) revealed the successful construction of its first 3D printed barracks hut which halved the cost of shipping building materials and manpower requirements. In 2018, the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) developed and patented a concrete composition that enabled 3D printing for building components demanding high structural strength. 

More recently, Texas-based construction firm ICON and the Texas Military Department unveiled their jointly-designed innovative 3D printed training barracks which the firms claimed to be the largest 3D printed structure in North America. Capable of holding 72 troops while they train for missions, the barracks spanned 3,800 square feet and and demonstrated an effective means of replacing temporary barracks that are past their intended lifespan with more efficient permanent structures. 

ICON’s construction 3D printing technology has also been leveraged by the US Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to 3D print vehicle hide structures that could support the US Army’s military operations around the world.  

ICON's 3D printed barracks can house 72 troops. Photo via ICON.
ICON’s 3D printed barracks can house 72 troops. Photo via ICON.

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Featured image shows the Indian Army’s Military Engineering Services’ 3D printed houses. Photo via Asian News International.