These are the words used by designers to describe the first set of homes to be made by a 3D printer.
According to an article in The Guardian, the Dutch city of Eindhoven is set to become the first in the world to develop habitable homes using 3D printing.
The construction company Van Wijnen plans to build five homes, the first of which will be ready by the middle of 2019. Already, 20 families have indicated their interest in living in the homes, only one week after images were published online.
According to Van Wijnen, the use of 3D printing will reduce the amount of cement needed to build a home thus lessening the environmental impact of the construction and lowering overall costs. In addition, 3D printing offers an alternative to bricklayers which are in short supply in the Netherlands.
The project is expected to take five years, with the smallest home to be built first. It will consist of a one-story, two bedroom house while the other houses will be bigger with multiple stories.
The 3D printer is described as a robotic arm with a nozzle that will ‘squirt out’ layers of cement. Various colours, and kinds of cements can be incorporated. It will also be possible to place wireless sensors directly into the walls of the building which can be used to control the applications for ‘smart’ lighting and heating.
This project is undertaken in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology, which is known as a pioneer in 3D printing using concrete.
The role of International Standards
International Standards are needed for the development of 3D printing from the hardware to the processes and information technology. The data that drive a 3D printer can be generated either by a computer aided design (CAD) system, or a 3D scanner, or both. Their format must be interpretable by a machine and they need to be stored, exchanged, indexed and secured. Protecting data integrity is also critical when manufacturing safety or mission-critical devices or components.
ISO/IEC JTC 1, a joint technical committee of ISO and IEC, produces International Standards for information and communication technologies for business and consumer applications. In October 2017, it set up a working group for 3D printing and scanning.
In addition, a number of IEC TCs (Technical Committees) and SCs (Subcommittees) work on identifying, developing and coordinating International Standards for the electric and electronic components that are installed in the 3D printers being used in additive and substractive manufacturing processes.
Amongst many other relevant parts and components are switches and relays (TC 17: Switchgear and controlgear, TC 121: Switchgear and controlgear and their assemblies for low voltage, and their SCs), servo and stepper motors used to move the extrusion head or the sintering laser (TC 2: Rotating machinery) and power supplies (TC 96: Transformers, reactors, power supply units, and combinations thereof).
Most important are the different types of lasers used for sintering metals and polymers. TC 76: Optical radiation safety and laser equipment, is the leading body on laser standardization, including the high-power lasers used in industrial and research applications. Its work is essential to 3D printing.
(Photo: Houben/Van Mierlo)