Wouldn't it be great if we could just print out houses using a massive 3D printer? We can't yet, but using digitial fabrication and some clever tricks we're able to manufacture beautiful, low cost structures which easily bolt together. You design for it like it's a big imaginary 3D printer then you and your friends get together and bolt your house together!
The first step was choosing the correct building material. You can make a structure from many things. You can use straw. You can use sticks. You can use bricks and many more. If you consider the strength to weight ratio and the cost, steel is by far the best material. Steel is also infintiely recycleable and impervious to termites. If you want something that lasts you use steel.
Here is how our solution works. We start with a 3D scanner. We scan in the terrain we want to build on. This could also be an addition to an existing structure. We import this 3D scan into an off the shelf 3D editor. Then we create a simple shape. We add openings for the windows and doors. Then we compile the shape into a steel space-frame using custom software we wrote. Our software generates all the manufacturing and assembly instructions for the structure.
We manufacture the structure out of simple tubular steel. Everything is designed to bolt together with one sized bolt. Our software generates stickers which have all the assembly instructions on them embedded in a code. We put the assembly instructions onto the bars. The bars become the assembly instructions. No confusing manual to look at or loose. Our assembly instructions are written so that large groups of people can work in parallel. Sections of bars are assembled into shapes and then these shapes are bolted together at the end.
This allows large groups of people to come together and build a structure. Our assembly times scale proportional to the number of volunteers. Want to build a warehouse sized object? Just get a couple hundred people together and you can do it in a day. It works like a techno version of a barn raising. It's a great way to bring people together and empower communities.
Once the structure is together we wrap it in greenhouse shrink warp. Then we route all the electric on the outside of the shrink wrap. We install the plumbing, windows and doors. Then we spray on closed cell polyurethane foam. We encase it all in stucco. Instant house in any shape. That's the theory. Right now we have the steel space-frames perfected. We are working on the other aspects of the design. We plan on getting a 3-axis CNC machine soon. We're going to use it to cut floors out of bamboo plywood, cut staircases, bookshelves, cabinetry and open source furniture. These will all be computer generated similar to the steel space-frames.
We are also working on algorithms to do the interior walls. We have not shrink wrapped a structure yet. However, foam and stucco is a fairly standard building technology. Watch us on facebook to observe our progress.