May 5, 2016 | By Tess

Earlier this week, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, announced the benefits that 3D printed construction processes could have on the world, further reinforcing our long held belief that 3D printed buildings will be the future of construction. With a number of innovative companies researching and developing additive manufacturing processes to reinvigorate and even revolutionize the construction industry, we have little doubt that that is where the industry is headed. One such company is Chattanooga, Tennessee based startup Branch Technology, which has just announced it will begin the construction of Chattanooga’s first 3D printed home this July.

Earlier this year, Branch Technology announced its Freeform Home Design Challenge, which invited anyone, from architectural firms to individuals, to design a single family home using their innovative 3D printing Cellular Fabrication (C-Fab) technique. Last week, on April 22nd, the winners of the competition were announced, and the winning design, “Curve Appeal” designed by architecture firm WATG Chicago, will be constructed beginning in July.

As mentioned, the building will incorporate Branch Technology’s C-Fab technique, which differs slightly from other 3D printing construction methods we’ve written about in the past. Essentially, the Cellular Fabrication technique uses a customized industrial robotic arm (the Kuka KR 90), which extrudes a carbon fiber reinforced ABS plastic material into complex, large-scale structures up to 8,772 cubic feet in size. What sets these structures apart from other concrete additive manufacturing processes, is that they only actually make up the inner framework of the building structure. That is, once printed, the additively manufactured framework can be sprayed with traditional low-cost building materials like foam insulation and concrete to make a strong, hybrid building structure.

By using 3D printed complex structures as an interior framework surrounded by concrete, the building walls can benefit from the reduced weight afforded by 3D printing, as well as the structural integrity offered by concrete. The C-Fab walls are reportedly just as strong as traditional concrete walls, but weigh much less, for example, a 1.5 lb plastic wall can support up to 1,500 lbs, while a 2.5 lb plastic wall with spray foam can support 2,980 lbs. Of course, what 3D printing the inner framework also allows is freedom of design.

WATG Chicago’s winning “Curve Appeal” home demonstrates this freedom of design perfectly, as it defies traditional box-like house structures with its entirely curved, even cave-like shape. In this sense, the innovative home design falls in line with Branch Technology’s own aesthetic philosophy of being inspired by nature. As founder and CEO of Branch Technology Platt Boyd explains, “[The structures] really have no geometric limitations, so it opens up a wide array of possibilities for design and building and architecture. The vision is to look at how things are made in the natural world and then begin translating that into how we can make things in the built environment, whether it be walls or other things.”

On top of having their design selected for construction, WATG Chicago also took home an $8,000 cash prize for having won the competition, and the two runner ups, City College of New York’s “Home(less)+House” and Romanian Spiru Haret University’s “Urban Leaf”, won $1,000 each. In preparation for Curve Appeal’s imminent construction, the Chattanooga startup must still pass some certifications and safety standards, which are reportedly underway. Branch Technology is currently looking for supply partners to make the innovative 3D printed house a reality.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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sher wrote at 6/29/2016 7:35:57 AM:

price of 3d printer for building house

Paul Hitchings wrote at 5/12/2016 6:29:44 PM:

This tech is really exciting in my honest opinion.

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