WikiHouse Lets People Build Homes with 3D Printers

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A free online resource created by WikiHouse allows people to “print” pieces of houses and put them together. is a site allowing people to purchase open-source construction kits. People can share home designs and print the pieces using machines. While the information is free, the use of the machines costs a few thousand dollars.

“Two or three people working together can build a small house in about a day,” Alastair Parvin, a British architect, said. “People continually get confused between construction work and having fun.”

He said the shell of a home could be built but it would lack plumbing, electric, and other inner components.

Those wishing to build a house have to get their own building materials, but can cut these materials by using computer-controlled tools called CNC machines.

“It’s kind of like making a big jigsaw puzzle,” Parvin said. “It is basically magic as far as I’m concerned.”

Parvin was prompted to make WikiHouse after he graduated in 2008 and encountered a weak job market for architects. He created WikiHouse 18 months ago.

Parvin said a “growing makers movement” along with affordable technology like 3D printers and CNC machines lets consumers be creators.

“How awesome would it be if we had a kind of Wikipedia for stuff?” he asked. “How much would that change the rules? I think technology is on our side.”

He sees WikiHouse as the “democratization of production,” and has hope that it will extend to creating furniture and eventually transform slums into enjoyable living areas.

“Slums are being built anyway,” Parvin said. “If people are going to build things for themselves, wouldn’t it be cool if what they make is not rubbish?”

They are now working on a way to attach files showing people how to make foundations for houses.

“We could do it,” he said. “We are at a point where it is not innovative; it is just that architecture is behind the game.”