3D Printing is regarded in some circles as the fourth industrial revolution. Able to solve issues in medicine, manufacturing and construction, the industry is expected to go from being valued at $7.3 billion at present, to a staggering $100 billion by 2028.

3D Printing has been in the spotlight for sometime, but it could be argued the technology wasn’t ready to step into it at that time. It is only now that it is being regarded as a mainstream manufacturing process, and won’t enter the homes and lives as it was anticipated until far off into the future.

That said, it is a very exciting time in the sector. Toronto-based company Anubis 3D says it has printed over 10 million parts since its inception in 2012, with its ability to produce parts at a rapid rate underlining the excitement around 3D Printing.

Many 3D-printed parts take around 1-2 days to be created. The industry may eventually remove supply chains and shortages completely, with ‘parts’ that are needed to be transported will become files that are sent via the internet. There also won’t be a wastage of materials, due to printers building parts with complex geometries, that ensure the pieces are as light as possible without compromising on strength.

Twente Additive Manufacturing is addressing Canada’s housing crisis through 3D Printing. The printer used by the company utilises a robotic arm to print concrete walls and buildings. Co-Founder Jim Ziemlanski likens the printer to a photocopier.

"The material comes through the concrete hose to the six-axis robot, which positions our nozzle to deposit the material correctly for the wall we’re building,” he tells Global News.

twente 3d printed house

“The very nature of digital fabrication means that there’s a lot of eliminated mistakes. I think pretty much anybody who’s built a home will know that there’s cost overruns. And with 3D concrete printing, you can be confident in your timelines and your budget.”

Twente is regarded as the first company to build and design Canada’s first fully 3D Printed home. They have recently joined forces with World Housing to build five homes in Nelson, British Columbia. Twente is also lending a hand to the town of Merritt, B.C., helping to rebuild homes for people who had theirs destroyed in fires and floods.

The homes have tiny 46sqm floorplans, with the entire frame taking approximately 12 hours to print. The design of the homes is nearing finalisation, with Twente to print and build 20 homes for 20 families by the end of the year for the community.

With current supply shortages and a major housing crisis that was the talk of the Federal Election, Australia would do well to follow Canada’s lead and utilise 3D Printing technologies to design and build homes. While the tech is still in its infancy and the crisis is bordering on disastrous, 3D Printing might have a role to play in alleviating the shortage.


Images: Twente Additive Manufacturing