Can We 3D Print Our Dream Houses?
What is a construction 3D printer?
A construction 3D printer is a printer that is able to build a house layer by layer using a cement-like material. The houses made by a construction 3D printer are cheaper, and they need less manual labor than traditional construction. A construction 3D printer can build the walls of a house in 2 or 3 days, while this process can take up to a month with the traditional methods. The construction 3D printer is said to be available for purchase sometime in the 2020s.
What are the features of 3D printed houses?
Other than the fact that 3D printed houses are more comfortable and faster to build, there are more advantages to these houses too. First, 3D printed homes are cheaper to build. Some models of houses can be made for less than 1000 dollars while a traditionally built house takes much more than this. This price reduction is mostly due to the lack of waste material and reduced manual labor in 3D printed homes.
Second, 3D printed houses are better insulated against noise and heat. Because of the unusually thick walls and the holes inside them, 3D printed houses retain heat and cold more efficiently than traditionally built houses. With a 3D printed house, you save money building your home and save money running your home. Some models of 3D printed houses use environmentally friendly organic material. These houses use organic materials like wheat husk to insulate the houses against heat and noise.
Finally, 3D printed houses can have more innovative designs. The printers’ structure allows you to build homes that are entirely round or have unusual designs. This variety of designs and construction helps you make your dream house precisely according to your personal taste.
What are some of the companies that build 3D printed houses?
ICON is an American company that started 3D building houses in 2018. ICON’s platform is tablet operated. It can be carried and used anywhere; also, the cement-based material for the ICON printers is proprietary. This material is designed to be pumped by the printer and dries quickly. The printer made by ICON is called Vulcan. This printer is designed to make single-story buildings that are cheaper and more affordable.
Currently, ICON is working on a non-profit project dedicated to building houses for the people who live in unsafe shelters. This project is the first 3D printed community in the world that is comprised of 50 homes. These homes are granted to people in Tabasco, Mexico, who live in extreme poverty in makeshift, unsafe shelters.
Another exciting project that ICON is involved in is called Olympus. This project is done in cooperation with BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) to build houses on the moon. Olympus is funded by Nasa and aims to create sustainable houses on the moon with material fount locally. This project can help to advance humanity’s future in space.
COBOD is the first 3D printed construction company in Europe. This company is based in Denmark but has completed projects all over the world. The houses made by COBOD are built according to the European standard code. Therefore, they are allowed to be constructed in any European county. What’s more, COBOD is the only country that sells construction 3D printers, and by now, several countries such as Saudi Arabia have bought BODs, the 3D printers made by COBOD.
Crane WASP is an Italian company that makes organic, environmentally friendly 3D printed houses. The construction 3D printer is set on a crane and can build structures in any shape and design. You can configure several Crane WASP printers to create an infinite building space. The material used in making these structures has almost zero environmental impact. The cement is 25% soil, 40% straw chopped rice, 25% rice husk, and 10% hydraulic lime. One of the most incredible things about Crane WASP is that it does not require any ventilation. The design is made to keep a pleasant temperature throughout the year. The walls of Crane WASP houses are 40 centimeters thick, and the material used for the walls costs €900.
FBR is a company that designs and builds robots that make building blocks. These robots are called Hadrian X®, and they are the first block-laying robots in the world. The blocks are constructed based on a 3D CAD model. Hadrian X® uses specific software programs that first prevent the machine from wasting any material, and second, make the machine lay the blocks based on a pre-designed plan. Hadrian X® is capable of laying 1000 blocks per hour, which means it takes as little as a day to build the walls of a house.
What is the construction 3D printer market value?
The global market for 3D houses was valued at $4.6 million in 2019. However, with advancements in technology and an increase in demand for 3D printed homes, this value is expected to grow up to 114.8% somewhere in the mid-2020s. This growth is partly because of the environmental effects that traditional construction can cause and the safety and efficiency of 3D printing in comparison. Another reason for the incredible growth in the market is that 3D printed houses can be built in harsh environments that are too dangerous for humans to work in. For example, the beginning of the Olympus project on the moon will have a significant impact on the value of the companies involved.