3D printing technology has revolutionised the manufacturing of many products in recent times.

Where it once was used for prototyping and conceptual work only, it’s now developed to a point where finished products can be printed; even bulky items can be printed with the right equipment. It’s now even possible to create 3D printed homes, something nobody would have thought possible a few decades ago.

Materials, size, and scope of work are becoming less of an obstacle as the technology advances. Harnessing the revolutionary power of 3D printing, companies have shown that not only can a home be printed; it can be done easily and cost-effectively.

3D-Printed Homes

Along with the affordability, there are many benefits to this technology since printers are capable of producing a range of shapes and and combine material that traditional building methods could not achieve. Fibers, sand, and concrete, can be the “ink”. Printed homes promise to be more durable, and a more sustainable due to the efficient and accurate building process.

The partnership between Sunconomy, LLC, an Austin, TX-based residential building company, and Forge New, a residential development company from San Francisco, have introduced We Print Houses, an industry-changing 3D printed home technology system, which can be licensed, by contractors and builders across the country. They plan to build one of the first 3D-printed houses in Central Texas this year. This home technology system incorporates a mobile platform and all the necessary mechanical systems to construct a 3D printed home.

The training program for getting a license is two weeks and will take place on the construction location of Genesis, i.e. the first house in the U.S. to be constructed with this 3D technology. They plan to build Genesis on a sloped lot with dimensions 100×120 feet to demonstrate the flexibility of the 3D designs. The construction works is planned to start this month.

These homes will be more disaster resistant, time efficient, and waste reducing than traditionally built homes. Their construction will minimise the number of construction workers needed therefore keeping costs down. It’s also set to shake up the building inspection industry since the build process is less prone to human error.

3D printed homes could be a viable solution to housing affordability. In fact, housing nonprofit New Story, based in San Francisco, and tech startup Icon, based in Austin, plan to use 3D printing to shelter the most vulnerable. New Story has built more than 850 houses internationally in 3 years, but its founders desired a faster process. Icon designed the mobile printer the Vulcan that can be taken to developing nations. At full capacity, Vulcan could complete a 24-hour print of a 600- to 800-square-foot home, at a price of $4,000. This year, New Story will take the printer to El Salvador to create many houses with the aim to reduce global homelessness.

Perth based company, Mirreco has also revealed plans to commence 3D-printed hemp homes. They believe the technology could significantly change the way we think about building in the future. They have already developed carbon-neutral hemp panels to support their vision for end global warming.

Benefits of the 3D-Printed Homes

The 3D-printed homes are designed to conform to the International Building Code. Some of the many benefits of 3D-printed homes are:

Faster process

With the 3D printing, you don’t need to worry about using materials that take a long time to settle and dry. While a traditional house will take between six and seven months to build, the whole process of constructing a 3D house will take only a few weeks.

Durability

3D printing homes have progressed to the point of designing concrete-based houses that can withstand hurricanes. The 3D printing technology guarantees fewer stress points in the structure, which, in turn, means a stronger building.

Reduced costs

3D printing uses a minimal amount of materials and labour. For instance, a 650 square foot-home is expected to drop to $4,000 as the technology develops.

Flexibility

When it comes to utility and design, designers of 3D-printed homes can experiment with many options and offer homeowners a house fitted to their style and needs. And with this technology, 3D printed homes can be easily customised for complex sites.

Reduced waste

This technology uses more sustainable construction materials that are constantly developed and advanced. For instance, some 3D homes can be built with bio-plastics made from vegetable oil!


WANT TO SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN CREATING HEALTHY CITIES?

Applications to present at the 2019 Liveable Cities Conference are now available! Share your research, projects and experiences in creating healthier spaces to live, work and play.

Find out more here.

3d printed homes - liveable cities logo