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How an 11-Foot-Tall 3D Printer Is Helping to Create a Community


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Printed houses in Nacajuca, Mexico.

In a tiny village on the outskirts of Nacajuca, Mexico, builders are creating new homes using a novel tool: an oversize 3D printer.

Credit: Alejandro Cegarra/The New York Times

Pedro García Hernández, 48, is a carpenter in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco, a rainforest-shrouded region of the country where about half of the residents live below the poverty line.

He ekes out a living making about 2,500 pesos ($125.17) a month from a tiny workspace inside the home he shares with his wife, Patrona, and their daughter, Yareli. The home has dirt floors, and during Tabasco's long rainy season, it's prone to flooding. Dust from his construction projects coats nearly everything in the home, clinging to the bedroom walls, the pump toilet and the counters of his makeshift kitchen.

But that will soon change. In a matter of months, Mr. Hernández and his family are moving to a new home on the outskirts of Nacajuca, Mexico: a sleek, 500-square-foot building with two bedrooms, a finished kitchen and bath, and indoor plumbing. What's most unusual about the home is that it was made with an 11-foot-tall three-dimensional printer.

A manufacturing process that builds objects layer by layer from a digital file, 3D printing is set for explosive growth. After a pandemic-related boom from printing objects like test swabs, protective gear and respirator parts, the 3D printing market is forecast to be worth $55.8 billion by 2027, according to Smithers, a technology consulting firm.

From The New York Times
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