Welcome to the future of home construction, where dream homes are designed and printed. In the past, as part of the American dream, couples across the country would have sought to buy their dream homes. But now couples can write a new story and tell their future grandchildren how they 3D printed their forever home.
3D house printing technology aims to revolutionize traditional building methods because 3D printing methods can erect (print) the core structure of a home (foundations and walls) faster, at a lower cost, with greater accuracy, and with fewer people working on the construction site.
This article will explore the idea of 3D-printed houses and how you can get one if you desire to.
The Best Way To Get A 3D-Printed House
Buying a 3D-printed house is similar to buying a conventional structure, except that the owner has more significant input and hands-on flexibility in the design.
Customization is more manageable because most building companies provide user-friendly design software to the client, enabling end-product visualization.
Most companies offer pre-set plans and layouts that can be customized for the buyer’s needs. If a personalized plan is desired, this can be accommodated.
The building company helps the buyer ensure the final print complies with local and state code regulations.
The financing process for a 3D house is identical to that for a conventional structure, and most institutions are prepared to grant a bond.
Where Can You Get A 3D-Printed House?
Building companies offering 3D builds are available in the following areas:
- Oakland, California
- San Francisco, California
- Tallahassee, Florida
- Calverton, NY
- Calverton, NY
- Riverhead NY
- Richmond, VA, region and neighboring areas
- Austin, Texas
Where Can You Buy A 3D-Printed House?
Widescale adoption has yet to be achieved, so a relatively small group of building companies offer 3D-printed homes. Hopefully, this will change, and the technology will eventually be available across America.
Companies that have completed projects manufacturing 3D homes include the following:
- APIS Cor (Website) working in San Francisco
- ALQUIST 3D (Website) working in Richmond, VA, region and neighboring areas
- OCON (Website) working in Austin, Texas
- Mighty Buildings (Website) working in Oakland, California
- SQ4D (Website) working in Calverton, NY, Calverton, NY, and Riverhead, NY
- Precision Builders & Renovating (Website) working in Tallahassee, Florida
How Much Does A 3D-Printed House Cost?
With current technology and building materials, a small home’s foundations and walls cost approximately $10,000.
As technology advances, matures, and becomes widely adopted, the goal is to reduce costs by over half to $4,000 per unit.
Once all the other construction disciplines have been applied and the entire house is ready for occupation, the aim is to create affordable housing. A small home would cost between $140,000 and $150,000.
What Is A 3D-printed House?
3D construction techniques are called Construction 3D Printing (c3Dp) or 3D construction Printing (3DCP).
They are intended to revolutionize the construction of small homes and combat the housing shortage. They offer advantages in the following areas:
3D House Printing Reduces Construction Costs
3D printing systems are substantially cheaper than traditional construction techniques.
The parts of a house that 3D house printing technology can erect are the following:
- Interior walls
- Exterior walls
With the current technology, these components of an average-sized house will typically cost $10,000.
Once scale has been achieved and the technology has fully matured, the developers aim to reduce this price to $4,000 per house.
The balance of a house’s construction includes:
- Plaster or other finishes
- electrical wiring
- Windows (including glass)
- Light fittings
- Bathroom fittings
- Kitchen fittings and appliances
Once the final cost is completed, the aim is to build turnkey houses that cost under $160,000.
3D House Printing Speeds Up The Build Process
3D printing technology speeds up the building process and can lay a small house’s foundations, slab, and interior and exterior walls in only twenty-four hours.
The Owner Can Design 3D Homes.
Companies offering this technology make design software available to the owner. With some handholding, there is no need to use an architect for the whole process.
Not only does the software enable a “DIY” design process, but it also enables virtual staging. The software will visually visualize the home’s exterior and interior, including furniture and decorating options.
Once the owner is satisfied that the house is as required, the software produces design drawings to obtain planning approval.
The software is delivered to the 3D constraint printer during the design phase.
The 3D printing machinery is set up by installing rails around the building site to direct the robotic arm.
The robotic arm lays the paste-like building concrete to lay the foundations and walls, layer by layer, following the plans.
3D Homes Offer Greater Flexibility With The Available Designs
Unlike conventional construction, 3D printing can produce complex designs more quickly than hand-built objects. Creating 3D-printed houses does not need to be restricted to traditional house shapes.
The 3D printing process builds layer after layer from the ground up, creating greater flexibility and accuracy for non-standard designs.
Owners can live in a standard house, build giant igloos, pyramids, and tubular shapes, or incorporate any other appealing design language.
Because the process is automated, the final design-build can be unrestricted by a bricklayer’s or timber frame specialist’s skill and ability to execute complicated structures.
Source: Interesting Engineering
3D Homes Are Stronger Than Conventional Brick And Timber
A 3D house uses printing material that includes a concrete mixture laid in layers that cure optimally, ensuring strong bonded walls, and generally includes a pre-engineered truss system.
The result is a building structure that can withstand higher forces, such as the following:
- High-speed winds
- Extreme temperatures (blizzards and extreme summer heat)
- Floods or droughts
3D House Printing Reduces Waste
3D home construction reduces the costs and lead times associated with a long supply chain.
3D-printed homes are inherently strong because the walls are the equivalent of poured concrete.
It makes it possible for the 3D design software to optimize the design and not over-engineer the structure, which reduces input costs.
Using 3D printed construction is more environmentally friendly.
The construction “printer” uses minimal energy and only generates about 1/3 of a traditional construction project’s waste.
The walls and foundations are printed on demand and as required, and unused raw materials are easily recycled for future use.
The cement mixture used in 3D printers is constantly advancing as new formulations are developed, including concrete, recycled plastic, and other imperishable materials. It has a positive impact on the overall sustainability of the construction process.
The Disadvantages Of 3D Printing Construction Methods
The technology is new and has only been used in a few locations across the USA; therefore, some disadvantages must still be addressed.
There Are Few Building Codes
As with any other new technology, 3D-printed construction technology has created further questions demanding a formal comparison against traditional building methods.
These comparisons must be formally tested in controlled environments to answer questions such as:
- Will a 3D-printed home have the same longevity as a traditionally built home?
- Will a 3D-printed home survive a fire or natural disaster?
- How do the related (electrical and plumbing) codes intersect with the new technology?
- Structural integrity codes must be formulated and promulgated at the national level.
- Public safety codes will need to be adapted on a national level.
As technology improves, there will be an increasing need for building codes to incorporate regulations for new materials, project workflows, and changes in equipment specifications.
Presently, there is no standard, and as a result, it places the consumer at risk.
Limited Number Of Material Types
Currently, a limited number of materials (plastic and concrete) are compatible with 3D printing machinery.
As the advanced construction technologies for 3D-printed homes progress on their evolutionary trajectory, a greater variety of repurposed materials will inevitably be able to be used in 3D building construction.
In addition to concrete foundations and walls, buildings may require wood or steel components. With state-of-the-art machinery, homes requiring other materials not supported by 3D construction equipment printers would have to be built with traditional methods.
At the moment, this restriction will constrain the growth of the building method in the near future.
Conventional construction, engineering, and design specialists have yet to pay much attention to 3D-printed home technology.
As the systems grow in popularity and gain greater acceptance, traditional engineering disciplines will be forced to become involved.
It will require standardizing regular processes, such as preparing blueprints incompatible with 3D construction printing equipment.
In conclusion, 3D-printed houses represent a remarkable leap forward in home construction, offering a glimpse into a future where personalized, eco-friendly, and cost-effective dwellings are within reach. Aspiring homeowners can now actively participate in designing their dream homes thanks to user-friendly design software provided by building companies.
With the ability to visualize end products and customize pre-set plans, getting a 3D-printed house becomes exciting and accessible. While the technology is still in its infancy, a growing number of companies across select regions in the US are paving the way for this revolutionary approach to housing.
As we look ahead, the challenges of establishing building codes and incorporating new materials must be addressed. Still, the potential for sustainable, flexible, and robust homes hints at a bright future for 3D-printed housing. So, brace yourself for the inevitable burst of innovation as the construction industry witnesses a transformation with 3D-printed homes.