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Thanks for the memories  July 26, 2012

The race for a 3D-printed house is on

About The Author

CNET Editor

Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

(Credit: Softkill)

London-based design firm Softkill has joined the race for a 3D-printed house, with a structure that it claims would take only three weeks to create.

It looks like something Skeletor might live in on an alien world: a dinosaur's skull spun with the cobwebs of a million crazed spiders. But London-based design firm Softkill believes that its 3D-printed dwelling — called ProtoHouse — will be hitting the prototype stage by midyear.

In an interview with Dezeen, Softkill's Gilles Retsin was dismissive of the rival project by Universe Architecture, a house designed for coastal Ireland that resembles a Möbius strip.

"We actually don't even consider that a 3D-printed building, because he is 3D printing formwork and then pouring concrete into the form," he told Dezeen. "So it's not that the actual building is 3D printed."

(Credit: Softkill)

ProtoHouse, on the other hand, will be completely printed using Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) out of fibrous nylon with computer algorithms designed to micro-organise the material. Based on bones, the resulting printed material is lightweight, strong and flexible, and able to be shaped into both house parts and furnishings, such as chairs.

And, according to Retsin, it doesn't take long to build at all; the 8x4-metre, one-storey house takes maybe three weeks for the printing process, with assembly occurring in the space of a day. There's no adhesive, bolts or screws; the pieces simply click together, with its weight cantilevered off the side of a hill.

And although the house is porous, waterproofing would be applied to the interior to keep residents dry.

We're not entirely certain it would be suited to the Australian environment. Yes, we have a lot of hills; but those nooks, crannies and hidey holes look like they'd be awfully inviting to some of our more poisonous native fauna.

And we'd probably end up spending a great deal of our time in it singing "spider-house, spider-house", and looking for rhymes for the next part of the song.

At any rate, it looks like the 3D-printed moon base doesn't have a chance at all of winning the 3D-printed house race.

(Credit: Softkill)


Add Your Comment 4

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MarcD posted a comment   

just, um, dumb.


thesorehead posted a comment   

Spider-house, Spider-house
Living here with my Spider-spouse.
Print a web, like a skull,
Protect it with an anhydrous hull.

Look ouuuut, it's a spider-house.

My first thought was "jeez, the dust!" but assuming there's a similarly efficient way to clad or render the inside and outside, this is awesome. You could run conduit through for your wiring needs and ensure the structure is strong enough to cut out holes for plumbing etc; then fill the gaps with inert insulation. So long as animals don't actually eat the stuff, should be as good as any other building material!


Michelle Starr posted a reply   

That song made my day :)

And re: wiring, maybe you could even stash power boards and extension cables in the walls ...


StevenD1 posted a comment   

It looks awful.

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