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Is This the World’s First 3D Printed Air Conditioning Unit?

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Two out of three U.S. homes currently have an air conditioner — and soon, many of these air conditioning systems could be manufactured in a brand-new way. Recently, Chinese developers recently unveiled the latest in 3D printing innovation — an air conditioning unit that can be manufactured entirely through 3D printing.

According to a March 13 3DPrint.com article, Haier Group, a Chinese company that specializes in consumer electronics and home appliances, unveiled what they call the world’s first 3D printed air conditioner at the recent Appliance and Electronics World Expo 2015.

The air conditioner doesn’t just keep you cool — with its unique, aesthetically-minded design, it looks pretty cool as well. Its exterior is fully customizeable, and the owner can adjust its appearance to his or her individual tastes. That might be why the first production unit, the only one created so far, sold for 40,000 Chinese Yuan — or $6,395 U.S. dollars.

“Building the object layer by layer, 3D printing allows unprecedented user customization,” Haier’s statement says. “Every user can parametrically adjust their own model, depending on his/her taste and requirements. Each model is a unique piece.”

Every component of the air conditioning unit is 3D printed, even its LCD screen that displays the unit’s current temperature and status, according to 3DPrint.com. Haier plans to make future models with computer boards that allow for full user control over the temperature and humidity levels within the home.

Another benefit of these air conditioners? Their energy efficiency. Today, air conditioners are manufactured to use 30 to 50% less energy than older systems, a major cost savings. When residential air conditioner energy use grew 20% between 2005 and 2010, any amount of energy saved is significant.

But for now, it might be awhile before the 3D printed air conditioner catches on — $6,395 is still a pretty steep price for an air conditioning unit.

What do you think about the idea of a 3D printed air conditioner? Have any other questions for us about AC maintenance plans or how to hire an AC contractor? Feel free to share all your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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