Automation: The House That Jack Printed
I’ve been reading scattered articles about the printing of houses for a couple of years. I know the Chinese have been active in this technology.
So have many others, according to an article in The World in 2017, a freebie with my Economist subscription.
Making things with a 3D printer is fast becoming commonplace. Millions of false teeth are now made every year with the various additive-manufacturing processes employed by 3D printers. Jewellery, countless plastic parts and even components for jet engines are also being printed. Now it is the turn of buildings, as giant 3D printers begin to produce much bigger structures.
The printers usually consist of a large gantry that supports a sort of scaled-up, robotically controlled print head that extrudes a mixture of cement and other materials. A bit like icing a cake, it adds successive layers one on top of the other to form the required shape. This allows sections of a building to be printed in a factory and then assembled on site, or the entire building to be printed in situ. [“Print me a home,” by Paul Markillie; The World in 2017 (from The Economist), December 2016.]
It’s gone further than you’d think.
An Italian group called WASP has put together a 12-meter-tall 3D printer to construct an entire village in Massa Lombarda, east of Bologna.
(My italics.) So around the time that cabbies and truck drivers are being laid off en masse by the arrival of autonomous vehicles, construction workers will be joining them on the dole queues.
Not to worry, though. Buggy whips! Buggy whips!