retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

An MNB user drew my attention to a BBC story about how "the latest in 3D printing technology" is being used in Amsterdam to build a house.

That's right. A house is being built by a 3D printer, which prints "thin layers of the construction materials on top of each other rather than out of bricks and mortar."

Since I cannot begin to explain this in my words, let's leave it to the BBC:

"The printer that will make this possible - the KamerMaker - is a marvel in itself. The name translates from Dutch as 'room-maker'.

"With a shiny metallic exterior, built from the carcass of a shipping container, it is 6m (19ft 8in) tall and would easily fill the average sitting room.

"Using different types of plastics and wood fibres, the device takes computer-drawn plans and uses them to make first the building's exterior walls, then the ceilings and other parts of individual rooms and then finally its furniture.

"The pieces will be assembled on site like a huge jigsaw with parts attached to each other thanks to some of their edges having being shaped like giant Lego pieces, and the use of steel cabling to 'sew' the elements together.

"Each part is created using a layer-by-layer process in which solid objects take shape by printing thin 'slices' of the construction materials, one level at a time, which bind together."

And here is the passage that really caught my attention:

"It may seem like science fiction or the kind of fantastical vanity project expected of a millionaire, but this is really a visionary concept of idealistic but level-headed architects operating with modest budgets, whose focus is on social housing.

"Developers may not be quaking in their boots just now but 3D printing has the potential to disrupt construction and the very look of our towns and cities."

Pay attention to the use of the word "disrupt." It is happening everywhere, even building construction. It can happen to any of us.

It is an Eye-Opener.
KC's View: