3D Printing is advancing fast, we are even planning to 3D print a moon base. This is show you just how much it has advanced, not only in printing small things like tools, but larger things, like buildings. We now have the capability of printing a 2,500 sqft (roughly 232.3 m2) house in as little as 20 hours.
In the TED Talk video below, Behrokh Khoshnevis, a professor of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC), demonstrates automated construction, using 3D printers to build an entire house in 20 hours.
In manufacturing we use a process called CAD/CAM (computer-aided design / computer-aided manufacturing). 3D models are designed on a computer and then manufactured using CNC Machines or 3D printers. The design is manufactured into a physical object automatically, with instruction from 3D computer model to physical object without human interface. Automated construction basically scales up this process. The size of the 3D printer is large enough to construct walls by depositing concrete based material layer upon layer to build a wall.
Contour Crafting (CC) is a layered fabrication technology developed by Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of Southern California. Contour Crafting technology has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components. Using this process, a single house or a colony of houses, each with possibly a different design, may be automatically constructed in a single run, embedded in each house all the conduits for electrical, plumbing and air-conditioning.
The potential applications of this technology are far reaching including but not limited to applications in emergency, low-income, and commercial housing.
Our research also addresses the application of Contour Crafting in building habitats on other planets. Contour Crafting will most probably be one of the very few feasible approaches for building structures on other planets, such as the Moon and Mars, which are being targeted for human colonization before the end of the new century.