A few weeks ago I was invited by the Sketchup team to meet then in Queens New York at World Maker Faire. Myself, and a handful of Sketchup developers were tasked with doing something amazing: Building a 3D printed house out of 3/4 plywood. I'll let Alastair Parvin, one of the creators explain Wikihouse to you:
If you want to watch the whole video above (and you should) click here
To design our house, we used the Wikihouse plugin for Sketchup. You can get this plugin for free right in Sketchup 2013. The plugin has pre-engineered modules in it designed by the Wikihouse folks that you can assemble like Legos.
Once you have your models assembled in Sketchup, there is literally a button you can push to have all of your parts laid out on 4x8 sheets of plywood that you can take to your local CNC shop to have made.
Our house that we built at Maker Faire consisted of 160 sheets of plywood like this, and over 1100 individual parts. Shopbot in Virginia was kind enough to cut all of the parts for us.
One of the most amazing things about this project is that by using Sketchup, we were able to collaborate on this model from Boulder Colorado, Massachusetts, the UK and Virginia. Because of that power, when we showed up to build it, we were able to pull it off in 16 hours. Check out the video of us building it below:
I've built a fair number of things in my life, and solved a lot of puzzles. This by several orders of magnitude was one of the most challenging and enjoyable things I've ever had the pleasure of helping build. As Alastair says in the video above, truly believe that this could be the future of construction. With the engineering done, and the power of design and manufacture put in the hands of all of us, we'll be able to create amazing things.
Most importantly though, this could not have been done without the team that we had. All of us, many of whom had never met before all became close friends because of this experience. It's one I'll not soon forget.