Will you print out your next house?
HOME & GARDEN | October 7, 2014

Will you print out your next house?

Ever envy the people on Channel 4's Grand Designs? Fantasise about building your dream house?

Well, the dream house could become a reality sooner than you ever imagined, thanks to a team of inventors who've created a way to allow almost anyone to design a home and then 'print' it in wood so it clips together like a giant construction kit. You even print out the tools you need!

The clever people at WikiHouse want to put the ability to design and build a house into the hands of the masses, with minimal skill and training necessary. Here's how...

First, choose and download a house, from an 'open library' created by professional architects and makers all over the world. A clever piece of software transforms the house into a set of cutting files for your house parts, such as these...

Using a special machine controlled by a computer, your house parts are 'printed' from a standard sheet material like plywood.

All the frame parts are numbered, so you can lay them out in the correct places on your house plot - it's like a big Kinder Egg toy! The parts join together with wedges and pegs, no bolts, and even the mallet used to bash in the pegs is printed.

The frames are lightweight, but strong, and can be lifted into place by just a small group of people. In fact, a single story house can be assembled in just a day! Panelling is then screwed over the frame and cladding, services, insulation and windows can be added at this point.

So what's the use for this technology? As well as giving ordinary folk a way to design and build their own home, it's also being touted as a solution for areas affected by devastating tsunami and earthquakes, and a WikiHouse building project has already begun in the favelas of Rio.

What do you think? Would you like to give it a try?

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