3D printed Houses of the Future
What is a 3D-printed house?
The answer is, quite literally, in the name. 3D-printed houses are created using very large 3D printers that, unlike smaller hobbyist or other types of industrial units, are able to extrude concrete, plastic, or other building materials through nozzles, in order to gradually build up a 3D object the size of a house.
These printers, specifically their nozzles, are able to move in multiple planes and are specifically designed to be very robust and hardy, as they generally need to operate outdoors on variable terrain.
To date, there are various research institutions and private enterprises working on the technique, and it is believed by some that the future of the construction industry may eventually come to rely on the descendants of current giant 3D printers.
Can you print a house, and how much does it cost?
3D printed houses are still something of a novelty and are largely still in development, but you can 3D print a house for a lot less money than having one built using more traditional construction methods. For some of the projects that are currently in development, costs are somewhere in the order of $10,000, although this is for a relatively small structure.
According to a report from The Verge on ICON’s operation techniques “the 3D-printed house would be made of cement and take up to one day to be printed by large, 3D printing robots. Best of all, the homes would cost just $10,000. And ICON hopes that eventually, it can bring the cost of homes down to $4,000.”
But it should be noted this is for a very small, 2-bed house. Larger constructions would likely cost more.
There are also some 3D homes that have been built up for less than half that.
How long do 3D printed houses last?
Since the vast majority of 3D printed houses are made from concrete, they should last a decent amount of time. With proper maintenance and continuous habitation, there is no reason they shouldn’t last as long as more traditional concrete construction.
Estimates vary, but most agree that they should at least last about 50 to 60 years.
Many 3D printed houses do have timber elements included which may be susceptible to decay over time if they are not treated or maintained properly.
What are some examples of 3D printed houses?
So, without further ado, here are 7 interesting examples but there are 2 that I found very interesting. In Mexico, a giant 3D printer is being used to create an entirely new neighborhood. Each house takes around 24 hours to complete and can house a small family. The 32.8 feet (10 mt) long printer quickly churns out the shell of every 498 ft2 (152 m2) area; the roof, windows, and interiors are fitted later. A non-profit called New Story is behind the endeavor. They have teamed up with ICON to make use of their enormous Vulcan II printer to create the houses. The idea is to allow low-income residents in rural areas to move out of their shacks into these new, two-bed houses. It is thought that developments like this could one day help solve the housing crisis in many areas around the world.
The second example was back in 2016 when a team of architects in Chicago proposed an amazing design for a 3D printed house made of printed plastic, carbon-fiber panels, and glazed walls. The team won first prize in the Freeform Home Design Challenge and for a good reason. The design for the 3D printed dwelling is incredibly bold and, compared to other examples, makes the most of the technology. Called Curve Appeal, the building is actually a thing of beauty. The plan was to 3D print the building in Chattanooga in Tennessee. It was planned to be completed in 2020.
There are plans to build a set of hemp-based 3D printed houses in Australia in the not too distant future. Designed by the biotech company Mirreco, they hope to harness the “explosive potential of industrial hemp.” The company believes it should be possible to 3D print the floors, walls, and even roofs of buildings using carbon- neutral hempcrete panels. The company recently unveiled its plans that were developed in collaboration with Arcforms, an architectural company based in Perth.
“The floors, walls, and roof will all be made using hemp biomass, and the windows will incorporate cutting-edge technology that allows light to pass through the glass where it is converted into electricity,” Mirreco stated.
This is an exciting innovation for construction at a time when costs of construction are entering the stratosphere. What are your thoughts?
Below is a link to a video that shows the 3D printing construction as it unfolds
Hope you all enjoy the warmer weather and if you know someone looking to sell or buy, I always appreciate your referrals and will look after them with the utmost care and attention.
Brian McCullough, RE/MAX of Nanaimo
#1-5140 Metral Drive
Nanaimo, BC V9T 2K8
Office: (250) -751 – 1223