How to create your dream house with a 3D printer

How to create your dream house with a 3D printer

It wasn't that long ago when printing something involved at least one sheet of paper and some ink. In recent times this has changed to no sheet of paper, an engineering plan and some exotic printing materials.

The 3D printer has been around for a while now. It started with a simple plastics-based version that could print small objects like chess pieces or cogs.

Newer versions allow you to print using chocolate and a range of other substances. There are even proposals for machines that could "print out" a new body part like a replacement artery. People have successfully "printed" a pistol that fired over 200 rounds without breaking down. A fashion designer brought out a range of printed shoes in various colours and configurations.

The limit now appears to be set only by the source materials and the size of the printer. This brings me to a firm called Contour Crafting which has proposed building a complete house using a very large 3D printer; this is positioned over a vacant piece of land and proceeds to print out the home of your dreams _ and all is complete within the space of a single day.

The resulting construction, made from layers of concrete, will include the plumbing and electrical wiring. To finish the house, you only need to install doors and windows, apparently. The same process can produce painted walls and tiled floors. I am reminded of that scene in sci-fi movie The Fifth Element where the Fifth Element is printed, from the bones up, using a small piece of residual material. If a 3D printer is capable of doing that at some point in the future, then... wow!

How dangerous are your tweets? In this case I mean dangerous to you, the tweeter. Depending on where you live, tweeting the wrong thing can expose you to criminal charges. Using the UK as an example, the following are types of tweets that can get you into trouble: defamatory, harassing, malicious, menacing, deceptive, impersonating, threatening, revealing, containing copied material or branded hash tags. Most of these categories are fairly obvious.

Examples of "revealing" tweets that could be actionable include "Prez of the US will be at the Mayfair hotel at 12 on Friday" or "John Smith is secretly gay".

Copied tweets are those that would contravene copyright laws. Including "#Apple", say, in a tweet could get you in hot water both for "impersonating" and also under the last category on the list above.

There are situations specific to Thailand that should obviously be avoided, such as negative tweets about senior or widely respected figures, of which every country would have its own list. Everyone is, of course, perfectly free to self-incriminate, as in tweets like "not really sick today but the boss doesn't know that". Like many things there is a balance point and too many people forget how far tweets can fly.

So who has the fastest broadband on the planet right now? The answer, according to the content-delivery provider Akamai, is Hong Kong, which has pushed the previous leader South Korea out of the top spot. The average connection speed in HK runs at 49.2Mbps with "poor" South Korea and Japan managing only 47.8Mbps and 39.5Mbps, respectively. Asian nations easily beat countries like Australia down to 48th place with a meagre average speed of 3.5Mbps. Thailand is currently in 51st place with an average speed of 3.3Mbps.

If you want to print at 100K DPI then some scientists in Singapore over at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) have managed to print the famous picture of Lena Soderberg in a teeny 50x50 microns. Any smaller and you run into a light-diffraction problem and can't see the image. Instead of printing in colour they used different sized dots to create the colour through an effect known as plasmon resonance. As an aside: this Playboy picture from 1972 is one of the most widely used test images of all time.

How easy is it to punk the Apple press gallery? Enter Swedish design house Day4, which came up with a fake screw design supposedly meant to be used to lock customers out of their next iPhone. Originating with Cult of Mac, the story went viral; beginning as a rumour, it had become "fact" by the time it reached the end of the information chain. Day4 started the story to see how easy it would be to spread disinformation and how people would score on its "gullibility index". Very easy and very high seem to be the results.

Looking for some interesting games to load on your Android device? You could try Radiant Defence, a tower-defence game that has some great weapons to use against inter-dimensional foes. Strikefleet Omega is a space-based game where you find and beat the Hive Queen and protect your colonies. If you prefer puzzles, then take a look at Cogs, a variation of the old sliding puzzle game. This game is in 3D and has a variety of puzzles of which the first 10 levels are free, after which you need to pay to continue playing. The other two games mentioned are free for Android users.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years. You can contact him at

James Hein

IT professional

An IT professional of over 30 years’ standing. He has a column in Bangkok Post tech pages and has been writing without skipping a beat every week all these years.

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