3D printing is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a digital model, and it’s now being used in a multitude of applications — from aircraft components to running shoes, cars to orthopaedic implants and prosthetic limbs. And one of the latest to come to market is houses. You can now live in a home printed out by a computer.
There are some big advantages to 3D printed houses. These include:
- Environmental benefits. When you print a house there is very little material waste. Prefabrication also reduces building site waste as well as transportation needs. This will lessen the heavy carbon footprint that the construction industry.
- Faster construction. According to McKinsey, the construction industry has struggled to improve productivity over the past 20 years and has grown at a third of the rate of the world economy. 3D printing is fast and could double the speed of production.
- Cost savings. Automation can bring huge cost savings by reducing labor needs on a building site and speeding up production. The construction industry has been slower to digitize than most other trades and is also facing shortages of skilled labor.
3D printed houses are popping up all over the world – in Malawi, Mexico, The Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, India to name a few. And NASA is exploring 3D printing for use on the moon and Mars.
In California, Mighty Buildings, co-founded by Sam Ruben, is collaborating with Palari Homes to build a solar-powered community of 3D printed houses. Components such as walls, ceilings and eaves are printed from a composite paste, then cured and hardened with ultraviolet light. The pieces are then put together on a prepared foundation using simple tools. Each home can be erected in less than 24 hours and may cost 40 percent less than conventional homes. Mighty Buildings offers printed studio units from as little as $115,000 and a 65-square-meter home for $187,250. Listen in to my conversation with Sam Ruben to hear about the progress Mighty Buildings is making.
3D printed houses are just getting started. It will be interesting to see if this idea takes hold and delivers some of the desired outcomes.
Images courtesy of Mighty Buildings