Lo and behold, Kerala’s first 3D-printed home is ready in 28 days

The first building constructed using 3D printing technology in Kerala is at the Kerala State Manufacturing Centre in PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram. Photo: Manorama Online

The American space agency NASA is working on a plan to build a house on the moon by 2040. And to those who are wondering how to build a house on the moon, 3D printing, the technology of the future, is the answer. NASA plans to build a structure after getting the 3D printer to the moon. This technology will pave the way for revolutionary changes in the construction sector. By the way, this technology of the future has now reached Kerala too.

The first building constructed using 3D printing technology in Kerala is at the Kerala State Manufacturing Centre in PTP Nagar, Thiruvananthapuram. Behind this initiative is a start-up called 'Tvastha' that has created such buildings in Chennai IIT and Mumbai. For Malayalees, this is a proud moment indeed! VS Aditya, a native of Wayanad is the founder of this start-up. He has a partner in Praveen Nair. The two talk about this building named 'Amaze 28' and 3D printing technology.

Construction of 3D printed house is in progress. Photo: Manorama Online

What is 3D printing?
Simply put, we draw a picture of a house in our mind on paper. It sends it through the computer to the printer and makes as many copies as it likes. 3D printing is an advanced form of this. It is a method of constructing buildings using machines based on automation technology. The house is designed as a virtual model and then fed into the computer and from there the building is printed using robotic printers. The robotic printer builds walls by stacking a special type of concrete, layer by layer. This allows many versions of the building to be constructed very quickly.

The magic called Amaze 28
The Kerala State Construction Centre at PTP Nagar is a place to introduce various building methods. In that way, this 3D building was built as a demo home. From planning to handing over the keys, the construction was completed in 28 days. That is why the building was named 'Amaze 28'. The 'slow printing' method has been adopted here to explain each step to architecture students, researchers, and visitors.

A typical 1000-1500 square feet building can be completed in two months through 3D printing. We can do any type of construction with this technology. One cannot say that this is a complete house. It was constructed in a one-room hall of about 380 square feet. The necessary changes can be made by dividing this hall.

Construction of 3D printed house is in progress. Photo: Manorama Online

What is the significance of 3D printing technology?
This technique is most relevant in situations where many houses need to be built in a short period of time. For example, in case of natural calamities like floods, landslides, and earthquakes, 3D printing can be used to construct many small buildings in a short time. It can also ensure immediate rehabilitation for those who lost their homes in the calamity. In areas that are difficult for workers to reach, 3D printers can be used to quickly build houses. 3D printing also has solutions to existing problems in the commercial manufacturing sector. Delays in the completion of building and wastage of construction materials can be fixed through this method.

Everything is possible with 3D printing
Another doubt regarding 3D printing is that it can only construct walls. But any construction from the foundation to the roof can be done with 3D printing. An example of that is the compound wall at the cricket stadium in Chennai. It is probably the longest 3D-printed compound wall in the world. It is possible to create many complex designs that are inaccessible to human hands. Architects can travel to the extremes of their imaginations and construct works.

Construction of 3D printed house is in progress. Photo: Manorama Online

Is it suitable for Kerala's climate?
The problem with the popularity of concrete homes in Kerala is that they are pretty warm inside. Since concrete tends to absorb heat during the day and emits all that heat at night, interiors remain warm at night. However, in 3D technology, there are cavity spaces in walls. That stalls the absorption of heat inside and helps in reducing heat considerably. And the strength won't reduce as well. Moreover, the concrete mix is made by including various industrial wastes. Thus, an alternative method of waste treatment is also opened up through this.

House built at IIT, Chennai, using 3D printing technology. Photo: Special arrangement

What is the future of 3D printing technology?
There are chances that in the future majority of the construction industry will turn to 3D printing technology. By this, the number of unskilled workers, construction time, and wastage of materials can be reduced. In short, you can also confidently decide on the housewarming date while drawing the plan of the house. It will also create a new pool of skilled workers in 3D printing. Our traditional construction workers are not valued much by the general public. But as more young people with 3D printing skills enter the sector, it is expected that the status of the sector will rise along with the employment opportunities.

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