3D Printed Homes: Everything You Need to Know

In the past, the idea of printing an entire home sounded like a far-fetched novelty. However, 3D printing is quickly becoming construction’s most promising solution.

In recent years, construction companies have made great strides in 3D printed homes. The revolutionary technology allows companies to explore new structural forms, reduce waste and costs, and improve the safety of construction sites. The 3D housing industry alone is estimated to reach $40 billion by 2027, a huge growth from the $70 million market in 2017.

When it comes to the housing market, building homes in time-intensive and costly — the average cost in the United States is almost $290,000 over a span of 6 months. Firms from around the world are innovating new projects to meet the challenge, from Russian firm Apis Core’s concrete home that was printed in a mere 24 hours to Austin-based startup ICON’s $10,000 650-square foot home. As housing costs and urbanization continue to escalate across the globe, 3D printing homes offers a solution that’s affordable, sustainable, and cost-efficient.

Along with innovative materials and green buildings, 3D printed homes are opening a new frontier in housing. Read on to learn more about homes are 3D printed, the benefits they offer, and how they will shape the future.

Infographic describing what a 3D printed home is, how they are constructed, their costs, and how they benefit housing.

The Benefits of 3D Printed Homes

Printing homes offer real cost, speed and waste advantages. They have the potential of solving the housing crisis with affordable housing, combating natural disasters with immediate shelter, and improving the construction industry with more efficient job sites. The construction industry faces also serious challenges with productivity and waste. With the ability to rapidly and precisely fill in walls, 3D printing can conserve resources while maximizing the use of staff for more hands-on processes, like using forklifts to build the roof and manually placing in windows.

The developments in 3D printed homes show that low-cost housing can be affordable, comfortable, and even elegant. The possibilities are real for the millions of people around the world who struggle with basic housing

Challenges

As promising as the technology is, 3D printing is still in its infancy. Buildings are complex structures that adjust to our living habits and provide shelter in all kinds of situations. Printed homes follow a set design, meaning it is less flexible to change or improve the design during construction. While concrete is efficient, the technology is still being refined and not yet capable of producing smooth and perfect surfaces.

New Trends

Despite its shortcomings, 3D printed technology continues to undergo innovations to become a viable, long-term housing solution. Firms are testing multiple printers on site to better execute projects, while experimenting with new methods and materials mixes such as wine and bioplastics.

As construction companies continue to innovate, 3D printed homes are becoming even more sophisticated and accessible. With strong benefits and developing projects, the question is not whether 3D printing is an effective construction technique. Rather it’s how we can best implement the technology to solve the construction industry’s biggest concerns.

Additional Sources
Sculpteo | All3DP | Wired | CNet | Architectural Digest | Artsy | Compare My Move | The Guardian | Digital Trends | The National | Architect Magazine