Going Big with 3D Printed Houses
Why this new method of building homes is here to stay
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There are just so many things that are 3D printed—be it toys, dental products, aerospace parts, and even food! While the list goes on and on, I want to bring your attention to how 3D printing is being used in the world of construction to build houses. Large 3D printers are now being developed for the purpose of building houses for people to live in, primarily made of concrete.
|Source: The Mirror|
This is quite an impressive engineering feat, showing how far 3D print technology has come since its introduction in the last few decades. But how practical is this emerging construction method? Sure, concrete is sturdier than wood, but the current technology being utilized to construct homes only prints the foundation and walls, which may not seem significant to anyone not familiar with the practice.
First and foremost, 3D printed homes take much less time to construct than traditionally built homes. The time can vary, but much of this depends on the size of the home and the complexity of the construction projects. Many smaller homes can take from under 24 hours to 10 days to construct. Larger homes are also being tackled, with the first 4,000 square foot, two-story 3D printed home in the United States expected to take 220 hours to print (not including the work that is put into the roof, windows, or electrical wiring). This is all at a fraction of the time it takes to construct a traditionally built house, which can take about seven months to complete.
Not only is the process of 3D printing houses quicker than traditional builds, but they are also cheaper. As mentioned with the time it takes to construct, the cost to print a home varies on the size and complexity of the house. After construction is complete, the final cost on average for a 3-bedroom 3D printed house is between $140,000 to $240,000 instead of at $250,000 starting cost with a conventional home. Which would you rather spend?
Moving beyond things that are of direct interest of the consumer (like build time and cost), another positive brought on by 3D printing houses is the fact that it is an eco-friendlier way to construct homes and communities. Sustainability is a top priority in the construction industry, especially since 10% of a traditionally built homes’ materials budget goes towards waste. (Translation: only 90% of materials in each project are used to build homes); that’s a decent financial hit. This doesn’t have to be the case moving into 3D construction, as the straightforward process of printing a home eliminates any potential waste as the foundation and walls won’t be over-engineered. Oh, and the shorter supply chain for transporting materials is quite welcome as well.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
It goes without saying that we think the practice of 3D printing houses is here to stay. As the technology to construct buildings in such a way is becoming more prominent, more large-scale projects are popping up. The houses are getting bigger and there are many communities being developed globally by 3D printing technology. We are only scratching the surface of what is possible, as the technology and methods of 3D printing homes are evolving with plans for drones to help the printing process and hybrid homes with concrete and wood being used as materials. I’m excited to see what construction projects will look like moving forward based on the achievements being made in the engineering process of homes and am interested in how these advancements will be implemented in larger structures.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to start looking into buying a 3D printed home within my budget.
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