Based on development by Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California's Information Sciences Institute, this ‘house printer’ was conceived for megacities in industrialised nations where living spaces are urgently needed and manpower is very expensive. Contour Crafter is able to ‘print’ a two-storey family house. As soon as the machine’s setup is complete, the construction process runs automatically. A robot prints contours of a building shell layer by layer using fast-drying concrete. Within a few weeks, a whole housing estate could be produced.
The machine prints using a nozzle with three injectors – two for the side contours and one for the filling. A special house wall type was designed based on the example of aeronautic lightweight construction. The wall leaves are solid and enclose captured air. While the wall is produced, the robot leaves gaps for pipework. The prearrangement of the construction and the finishing still requires direct human input. The client’s advantage is the low-cost industrial production and the customisation of the house to the geographic, climatic, and social needs.
The study at hand conceptualises the first generation of Contour Crafter outside a laboratory. To date, there have been two generations of Contour Crafter developed in laboratories. One displayed its capabilities by building a model, and the other was able to print walls with a length and height of two metres. The goal of the research is to print one building shell per day.