3D printing is taking off in a big way, and will soon be the foundation of manufacturing, medicine and home repair. One industry that will be changed by this innovative new technology is construction.
Soon houses will be built by 3D printers instead of laborers and the Apis Cor is the most advanced of its kind yet, demonstrating how soon that will happen.
The printer was designed by Nikita Chen-yun-tai, a Russian engineer. Called the Apis Cor, it is similar in appearance to a tower crane that has a nozzle on the end. After setting up in the middle of the building site, it will stretch over to each section that needs to be built and squirts out whatever material being used. Since it sits in the center of construction, it eliminates the need for expensive railings for movement, and that eliminates a lot of labor and cost.
From the single point, the printer can create a building that is 192 square meters (630 ft) with no limitations on height. The machine doesn’t even use a lot of power, consuming only 8kW, and it doesn’t make construction waste, either. The Apis Cor can also print horizontally, and is both light and small.
As with a lot of 3D printers, the big benefits from the Apis Cor will be increased efficiency and safety. Construction workers face a lot of hazards in the workplace, and they can make all-too-human errors in judgment. The process will also happen much faster, with a single building being built within a day. Especially at a time when poverty in both developing and developed countries is still a prevalent problem, the Apis Cor can offer promising solutions.
Of course, as Lloyd Alter for TreeHugger points out, the machine doesn’t provide insulation, plumbing, wiring or windows, so the time frame of a single day may be somewhat overstated. Either way, it is still a great step forward toward efficient, eco-friendly building.