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Dutch couple move into Europe's first 3D-printed house
Exterior of first 3D printed concrete house. Screen grab from TU Eindhoven YouTube video.

A retired couple in the Netherlands have moved into Europe’s first fully 3D-printed house. The two-bedroom bungalow in Eindhoven is the first of five homes planned on the site in the coming months.

In the longer term, many in the building industry believe that 3D-printed homes could become a sustainable solution for tackling housing shortages. The technology is friendlier to the environment and reduces costs because it uses less concrete and homes are quicker to build.

The new home took just 120 hours to print.

3D printing means architects can be more creative - the Guardian likens the rounded shape of the bungalow in Eindhoven to Fred Flintstone's home.

In addition, 3D printing offers an alternative to skilled bricklayers, who are reportedly in short supply in the Netherlands.

The building is being undertaken in collaboration with the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU Eindhoven), which is known as a pioneer in 3D printing using concrete.

The 3D printer itself is a robotic arm fitted with a nozzle that ‘squirts out’ layer upon layer of cement to build load-bearing walls.  

The role of International Standards

International Standards are needed for the development of 3D printing from the hardware to the processes and information technology. The data that drives a 3D printer can be generated either by a computer-aided design (CAD) system, or a 3D scanner, or both.

Their format must be interpretable by a machine and they need to be stored, exchanged, indexed and secured. Protecting data integrity is also critical when manufacturing safety or mission-critical devices or components.

ISO/IEC JTC 1, a joint technical committee of ISO and IEC, produces international standards for information and communication technologies for business and consumer applications. A dedicated working group in JTC 1 is carrying out standardization work on 3D printing and scanning.

In addition, a number of IEC technical committees and subcommittees work on identifying, developing and coordinating international standards for the electric and electronic components that are installed in the 3D printers being used in additive and subtractive manufacturing processes.

Amongst many other relevant parts and components are switches and relays (TC 17: Switchgear and controlgear, TC 121: Switchgear and controlgear and their assemblies for low voltage, and their SCs), servo and stepper motors used to move the extrusion head or the sintering laser (TC 2: Rotating machinery) and power supplies (TC 96: Transformers, reactors, power supply units, and combinations thereof).

Most important are the different types of lasers used for sintering metals and polymers. TC 76: Optical radiation safety and laser equipment, is the leading body on laser standardization, including the high-power lasers used in industrial and research applications. Its work is essential to 3D printing.

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