Your Next Home Could Be 3D Printed
A growing number of products are manufactured with 3D printing, and now the technology can even build houses! Is a 3D home something you’d like to pursue? See what you think.
From novelty to practicality
Although 3D printing processes began receiving patents in the late 1980s, the technology has really come into its own in recent years. Today a growing number of parts for all sorts of products are manufactured with 3D printing. The home construction industry is now part of the movement, with a small but growing niche of 3D printed houses to its credit.
Primarily embraced by younger buyers, 3D homes can be built more quickly and for less money than those constructed traditionally. They are also more environmentally friendly.
How 3D homes are built
With 3D printed houses, a computer-controlled concrete extrusion robot lays the foundation and constructs the home’s walls. It takes about a month for the concrete to cure, depending on weather conditions. Then construction workers add traditional framing, with roof trusses, wall spaces for wiring and plumbing, windows, doors and other components. The bulk of the structure is completed with 3D printing. The process is carefully designed to meet building codes.
Because concrete walls replace much of the traditional wood framing in 3D-printed homes and construction costs are about 25 percent lower, these houses are cheaper to build. This type of construction also helps the environment by requiring that far fewer trees be cut down.
Additionally, 3D printed construction provides an affordable solution to resolve homelessness. In Austin, Texas, for example, Community First Village has built several 3D homes as part of its innovative approach to providing housing for the homeless.
Growth trend in 3D homes
As with many emerging products, the millennial and Gen Z generations have been early adopters of 3D printed homes. Some, however, are waiting for further advances in proficiency and design or to see if 3D homes are as durable as traditionally built houses.