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We've written here recently about the 3D printing opportunities available in the future of house manufacturing. While China has been creating prefab homes this way with an oversize 3D printer, we're starting to hear about how 3D printers will soon be able to create skyscrapers and full-size homes around the world. The twist is these printers will be able to create homes that can be added onto at will without having to hire an expensive construction firm for upgrades.
While that may sound like it takes away from the construction industry, it actually reinvents it. Many companies are popping up around the world that intend to be the first at creating a large building out of a 3D printer. Oversize 3D printers are already available, and it's only a matter of how much time it can take to build such a thing.
The Independent in the U.K. recently reported that architects in Amsterdam are trying to best China in printing a much larger house, a 13-room home to be exact. While it's expected to take three years to complete, it's the first step that's also about to go forward in the U.K. An architectural firm there is also planning to print a tall building eventually. The only thing keeping it from happening there is the insurance and legal barriers that may be a new offhanded career opportunity on its own.
Dealing with the Safety of 3D-Printed Buildings
While 3D printers are creating amazing things and larger items all the time, concerns about safety arise when they start creating buildings. The insurance industry and building inspectors may have new job categories in another decade in dealing with 3D-printed structures. They'll have to deal with inspections to make sure the printers didn't make structural errors, which we can only hope will be perfected in 10 more years.
Mostly, though, it's the cost right now that's keeping the construction industry from going forward with 3D printing. But as we've seen with regular consumer printers for the home market, prices are starting to go down exponentially. Within five years, the cost of creating a building or home from a 3D printer may be at the same level or lower in price than buying a new home. With the capability to have 3D-printed buildings that can continue to be added to with an updating 3D printer, we'll have fully evolving buildings done through the hands of a new CAD team. This can prevent construction workers from having to do sometimes dangerous work at the top of skyscrapers when adding additional floors.