Jun 30, 2016 | By Tess

3D printing technologies, along with open-source softwares and hardwares have opened up the possibilities for manufacturing in a number of fields, including robotics, medical devices, and design. Now, an ambitious project founded by Open Source Ecology (OSE) and the Open Building Institute (OBI) is seeking to expand the benefits of open source information into the realm of sustainable housing and construction. Together, OSE and OBI are developing the Open Source Eco-Building Toolkit, an exhaustive and expandable digital toolkit that will help people from all over the world to learn how to create sustainable and modular housing units for an impressively low cost. To get the project off the ground, the Open Building Institute is raising funds through a Kickstarter campaign, which launched June 29th, 2016.

The project, founded by Catarina Mota from the OBI and Marcin Jakubowski from the OSE, was inspired by the couple’s own experiences in designing and making their house. As they explain, upon moving to Missouri after their marriage, they found that their own farm house was much too small. Realizing that their own housing aspirations could not be met through conventional contracting and construction methods (for sustainable and cost reasons), the pair set out to build a house themselves.

In the end, Mota and Jakubowski developed a method for designing and building a 700 square foot expandable starter home, which could be constructed within just five days for only $25,000 worth of materials. Now the pair are hoping to share this method with the rest of the world with their eco-building toolkit, which consists of modular designs, instructions for building utilities and appliances, construction machine designs (like 3D printers), material recipes, and training programs.

Essentially, using the online toolkit, users will be able to browse a library of modules and architectural components to create a digital 3D model of a house. Alternately, users can also choose from pre-designed house models uploaded by contributing designers. From there, detailed instructions for building separate components for the house will make it possible for even inexperienced builders to construct the house—the more people who are working on it, the faster it will go. In addition to the house’s structure, the toolkit also comprises of a number of instructionals for building off-grid utilities and appliances, like solar-power panels and hydroponic heating, to make the home as sustainable as possible.

Notably, the OBI project will also introduce a solar-powered materials production facility capable of manufacturing construction materials like compressed earth blocks, lumber, insulation, lime concrete, and even paint and glazing. This facility will be equipped with open-source machinery  including 3D printers, a brick press, a sawmill, mixers, and more. According to the duo, a large-format 3D printer will be used for manufacturing multi-wall polycarbonate greenhouse glazing out of recycled plastic. The goal with the materials production facility is to localize building materials by sourcing and producing everything from within 50 miles of the build site.

Of course, if you don’t want to build your own house, there’s nothing to worry about, as Mota and Jakubowski are also developing an intensive training program for builders. The initial training program, which is scheduled to launch in 2017 with only a few trainees, will hope to expand its enrolment and ultimately result in more building enterprises and companies that use OBI’s novel design and construction practices. As stated on OBI’s Kickstarter page, “The goal is not only to help train a growing number of open source, regenerative builders, but also to encourage entrepreneurship and seed the replication of many similar facilities worldwide.”

While the project may seem exceptionally ambitious, OBI is confident that its open-source philosophy will help it to develop and expand quickly. With funding from Kickstarter, the project is hoping to establish an online platform for users to submit new designs and input to improve current ones. OBI is also putting together a capable team of advisors from around the world, including architects, engineers, and business and organizational experts to ensure building regulations and standards, quality, and feasibility of projects.

The Kickstarter campaign, which is seeking to raise $80,000 offers a number of rewards ranging in price from $1 (to have a hydroponic fish named after you) to $9,500 for an open-source brick press. Other rewards include an international workshop for building scalable 3D printers ($400), participation in the construction of a 700 square foot Starter Home at OBI’s headquarters ($500), and many more. Be sure to check out the crowdfunding campaign to learn more about this innovative and expansive project, which through technologies like 3D printing is seeking to change the face of home construction for the better.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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marcin jakubowski wrote at 7/31/2016 3:04:51 AM:

Great news! We're 107% funded, and have a few days left. Support modular open source eco-housing and follow progress updates at http://kck.st/293ISTN.

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