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Housing Project Leans on 3D Printing Technology

Thu July 05, 2018 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle


When complete, the planned community, known as Project Milestone, will be the first 3D-printed commercial housing project the world has seen, NBC News reported. (Photo Credit: Project Milestone)
When complete, the planned community, known as Project Milestone, will be the first 3D-printed commercial housing project the world has seen, NBC News reported. (Photo Credit: Project Milestone)

A collaborative project 3D printing construction project between engineers, contractors and architects is taking shape in the Dutch city of Eindhoven.

When complete, the planned community, known as Project Milestone, will be the first 3D-printed commercial housing project the world has seen, NBC News reported.

The Project

An enormous 3D printer will create five homes in the woods close to the Eindhoven airport. The first of the homes, which is slated to be completed in mid-2019, will span a little more than 1,000 sq. ft., and will include three bedrooms. A robotic printer will use the architectural plans that have been drawn up to create the buildings' components. For the first house, the pieces will be made off site before they are transported for assembly, NBC News reported. However, as technology advances, workers should be able to print whole homes at the location.

NBC News reported that the entire project will likely take about five years, as the technology needed to complete it will require fine-tuning.

The plans for the houses depict curved walls paired with more traditional shapes for the windows and doors, which is meant to showcase the 3D printer's versatility, as well as its ability to create shapes that would be difficult for mainstream construction methods to make, said Rudy van Gurp, a project manager from Van Wijnen, the company that is overseeing the project.

Why Now?

Van Gurp told CNN that this initiative is happening just as the Netherlands is dealing with a bricklayer shortage. However, the primary focus of the project is to learn how 3D printing methods can slash both costs and concrete waste, NBC News reported.

“I feel excited,” said van Gurp. “We are reinventing some details in the real estate industry, and it feels to be at a start of a tech revolution in this industry.”

However not all experts agree with van Gurp. Architect and MIT professor of urban technologies and planning said that although he thinks digital fabrication will revolutionize the industry, he does not believe 3D printed concrete will be the catalyst, NBC News reported.

“Still, it is positive that we are seeing a myriad [of] experiments in concrete printing — Project Milestone is one of them — that will be useful to prefect the technique.”

Earlier this year, ground broke near the Tennessee River for a 3D printed house.




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