At this point, 3D printers are typically used for minor engineering purposes. They can be useful for drafting out a prototype, for making replacement parts and for scale models. But Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars of Universe Architecture wants to take 3D printing to a whole new level.
He wants to print a house.
In what can best be described as a mashup of 3D printing and modular design, Ruijssenaars is working with mathematician Rinus Roelofs to print a house in pieces and assemble it by 2014, according to 3ders.org. Each piece of the house will measure 19.7 feet by 29.5 feet and will be printed using a large 3D printer called a D-Shape.
The D-Shape pints the pieces of the building using thin layers of sand and an inorganic binder. The printer will only form the exterior or shell of the house, however. Ruijssenaars says the shell of the house will be filled in with fiber-reinforced concrete to make the structure habitable.