Housing made convenient

3D printed house

Sounding futuristic at first, 3D printing a house might not be a bad idea for people looking to save money without sacrificing quality

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3D printed house

3D printing houses is a new technology which is here to stay.

Basically, in order for a house to be 3D printed, the construction company transports a big 3D printer to the desired location.

The plans for the house are then entered into a specific 3D construction printing software, which in turn operates the 3D construction printer. For the printer itself, there are many different types of concepts and it is too early to tell which one is going to prevail in the future of the .

Generally, some ideas have been construction printers which print the separate parts in the warehouse and then ship them out piece by pice, construction printers which are at the construction site and move while building on some kind of gantry-based structure, or even printers which are bigger than the itself and don’t need to move.

A very curious new development is the , which can climb buildings as it automatically builds them, which makes him able to build structures much larger than himself.

The has become acknowledged, shows just how much the construciton industry might be inluenced by this recent development.

It is not going to be easy, and probably some problems will arise, but nevertheless the overwhelming number of advantages will make them, in my opinion, a major technological advancement of this century.

3D printed houses

Why you might consider a 3D printed house

Speed

Fast to build compared to other houses

Price

Great houses at an even greater price

Environment

Damage to the environment can be avoided

Durability

Very durable houses which can last generations (probably)

Frequently asked questions about the 3D printed house

Does the 3D printed house take away jobs?
 There might be some truth to it. To a large extent, the jobs are simply going in a different direction. You don’t need workers to lay the bricks anymore, you need those able to control the machinery. You don’t need traditional architects, you need architects that know how to use 3D printing software. Generally speaking though, there is a trend noticeable towards less manual work and more automatization.

Can I buy a 3D printed house?
In theory: Yes, definitely. From a technical standpoint, 3D printing houses is already very advanced. In reality, it is pretty hard since there are very few people with a construction scale 3D printer, even fewer who know how to use it. Also, you have to prepare for a lot of debate with your local building authorities.

Is 3D printing houses going to help our acute shortage of specialists?
It will help to some degree, considering that there will be fewer workers required for building houses. On the other hand, 3D printing is definitely a field, which has experienced a majority of its’ growth over the most recent years. That’s why we do not have many specialists on the topic yet and have an even bigger shortage of specialists, at least considering short-term.

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History of the 3D printed house

 
In order to tell a good story, you have to start at the beginning. And damn, 3D printing houses is a good story. The newest house in germany is even 3 stories, but that’s a different story. Well, when after the second world war everything was destroyed, people spent a lot of time building and rebuilding houses. Obviously, when an industry becomes more and more important, it doesn’t take long to see developments. 
 

 

3D printed house
So, not surprisingly, in the 50ties and 60ties there have been some developments towards automatic brick laying robots, Even today the company  is still developing this technique. In the beginning, there were two types of ideas for 3D printing houses: The first one was a method of melting materials such as sand or cement together, while the second one was a new way to print, initially intended for use in ceramic.
At first, it didn’t seem like a viable strategy, because it was costly, slow and did not seem safe.
war before 3D printed house

Enrico Dini was one of the first to give some hopes to fans in regard to 3D printed construction. He invented the D-Shape technology, which allowed 3D printing to become more cost-effective and adaptable to the requirements of the modern market. By the way, today he is part of a project 3D printing coral reefs, in order to prevent large amount of species from extinction in this habitat. 

At a similar time, the first ever 3D printed wall was built using some form of cart, which transported the nozzle and distributed the concrete evenly. This gave hope to the future of 3D printed construction and spanwed a lot of interest among enthusiasts. The wall was 3m wide and over 2m long and took the workers over two and a half hours to produce. Still, considering future developments, the makers at university of southern california realized the potential for the future of this new technique.

3D printed wall

The university of Eindhoven and many others worked hard on the 3D printing technology, finding better ways to print, better material, better sofrtware, better technology and much more. As a result, in 2017 the first ever concrete bridge was built in the netherlands which led to an enormous amount of media coverage and, when you watch the video on the right to the very end, even spawned the idea of the 3D printed house in the general public.

The first to make the big step of creating the first habitable 3D printed houses in the world were surprisingly none of the competitive companies fighting for the innovative lead in concrete 3D printing. It was the university of Eindhoven, which has been a leader in construction 3D printing for quite some time. They saw the advantages of the technology and viewed it as a possible solution to the current shortage of bricklayers in the netherlands. The city had always been known for innovative design and creative architectural solutions.

Another big push for the 3D printing industry was when dubai decided to have 25 percent of their buildings 3D printed by 2025. They are on a good path to their goal, since they have already launched a plethora of projects, including their municipalities to be 3D printed houses. This might be a good thing, since Dubai was never known for treating their construction workers very well, so mabye with a 3D printer they won’t have to offer vacations or good working conditions.

dubai 3D printed house

Watching the technology for the 3D printed house develop, is kind of like watching a baby grow. We have first after first and one of my favorite firsts is the first family to move into a 3D printed house. By choosing a specific shape against humidity as well as printing around the old trees, all while saving 20 percent of the costs, the french city of Nantes showed the world the power of the 3D printed house. The local university supported this project all throughout and went great lengths to build this special social hosung.

One of the most recent projects, breaking new barriers for the 3D printed house, is the first ever 3d printed house with three stories.

It is being built close to the german city “Ulm” by the german construction company “PERI” using the COBOD printer. This is an enormous milestone for the 3D printed house, since up to now the public was doubting the stability of 3D printing houses.

Even though this claim has been refuted in academic circles, actually building the first 3D printed house with three stories will send a clear message to the doubters.

If you are interested in the first three story 3D printed house in the world, stick around. I am planning to pay it a visit some time next month and I am going to keep you guys updated.

The vision of the 3D printed house

  Imagine the process of buying a house in 2050. You just sit there, thinking maybe it might be time for a new house. You have a big garden and you’re wondering, why not to buy a garden house.

So, you pull out your phone, open the app for house building and design your house. One hour later, a big truck pulls up on your back yard and delivers a 3D printing construction robot.

this robot now starts printing your house and two hours later the 3D printed house you just designed on your phone is standing right in front of you.

This sounds like some sort of far-fetched future but it might actually soon be reality. of course there are a few stones in the way, like the building code, the design software, the size of your garden end the transportation of the construction 3D printer.  All of this, while maintaining some major advantages of 3D printing houses such as the cheap price, the sustainability and the waste-free building system.

Add to that your freedom of design and the durability of these houses and you realize just why this has been such a big hope for those seeking affordable houses without living in rundown shacks.

3D printed house vs traditional methods

traditional house:
– on average around 280k dollars
– takes on average 7.7 months to build
– traditional design
– established in the building code
– 8000 pounds of construction waste per 2000 square meters
– made out of wood, cement, stone
 
– solid right after building
3D printed house:
– between 40 and 85 percent reduction in cost
– can be built in just hours up to several weeks
– opens new ways of design
– some debate with building authorities necessary
– no construction waste
 
– made with steel, concrete mixtures or more sustainable new resources
– needs to dry but is afterwards even stronger than traditional housing

3D printed technology companies

3D printed house company

Since I always preach the importance of having a good company by your side, I felt kind of obliged to give you a quick overview of some good and well known 3D printed construction technology companies. There are major differences in quality, notoriety, location and many other factors. Nevertheless, let me start off with the first company:

 

1. Apis Cor

Now, Apis Cor is a russian startup which has gained some notoriety by building the biggerst 3D printed house ever in Dubai as well as some other projects. They have also announced that their printing robot is going to be for sale soon, as well as some classes on how to operate it. What’s interesting here is that you can deduct the costs of the classes from the actual 3D printer, which basically gives you free classes with it.

When you hear this, you might be quite convinced by Apis Cor, nevertheless the company has not been free from criticism. There have been for example allegations of them lying about the fact that it took only one day to build the world’s biggest 3D printed house. Also, even though Apis Cor claimed to be in the Guinness Book of records for building the biggest 3D printed house, representatives of the Guinness Book of Records could not confirm this. While all of this did sound shady, it is safe to say that Apis Cor is a legitimate company with serious ambitions and innovation, there were simply a few things they weren’t too honest about with the general public.

2. COBOD

I am in contact with COBOD and might even visit their newest project soon, so here is a quick excerpt from what they have told me about their company: “Let me start by making it clear, in a very un-modest way, that we are – by far – globally the leading 3D Construction Printer supplier. ” While this might sound a little arrogant at first, COBOD definitely has some archievements to back it up with. As you can see in the YouTube video on the right, they are currently building

the world’s first 3D printed house with three stories, together with the german construction company PERI group. In this whitepaper they published, they present their projects with the 3D printed house and showcase a few of their archievements. From my experience and research, COBOD is the company with the least outrageous claims and press-stunts and tries to keep things simple. Nevertheless, they are one of the few companies actually proven to deliver 3D printers to the customers.

3. ICON

ICON 3D printed house

ICON is another company that has done great things in the 3D printed housing industry. They have a printer with a very slick design, have built houses in south-america for the homeless and much more. Nevertheless, there are some things üeople get wrong about them. For example, they never said they printed these houses in 24h, they said their printer would be able to print a house in 24h. THe houses took several days or weeks to print, according to their own video. As for their construction printer, the vulcan II, to my 

knowledge there has yet to be one actually delivered to a construction company. Still, it is safe to say that ICON is a leader in the industry of the 3D printed house.

4. Winsun

Winsun is a major chinese company in the 3D printed construction industry which has been highly touted by the press for its archievements. While there is some truth to that and Winsun has done amazing things for the development of the 3D printed house, I have some issues with their demeanour in the press. For example there was the claim that they built  ten3D printed houses in ten days, which sounds incredible. If you realize the business structure of Winsun though, you realize how this was possible. Winsun doesn’t print on site, it’s a company which 3D prints elements for houses which are then being shipped to the desired location and assembled. This also means, it took them much longer than 10 days to print the 10 houses, only the assembling process for these houses took ten days. Incongruencies such as this as well as the lack of transparency and the secrecy around some of their projects all makes me a little bit suspicious.

Future projects

3D printing houses is in my opinion the technology of the future, so let’s take a look at some of the things the future of construction 3D printing has in store for us.

 

1. Mars buildings

NASA had issued a contest for creating the first homes to colonize Mars with. The winner of said contest was the New York Design Studio AI Space Factory. They designed the egg-shaped buildings, which are actually going to be on earth as well for fans of the design to stay in. The advantage of the 3D printing technology here is the plethora of design possibilities which include the egg shape. This egg shape is supposed to be ideal for withstanding the internal pressure. Also the possibilities for material are endless, giving NASA the power to use insanely strong materials to protect the inhabitants from outer space.

2. Dubai

dubai 3D printed house

This is less of an actual project, but rather a goal Dubai has set. They have decided to print 25 percent of their new houses by 2025, which has been a big boost for the image of the 3D printed house. This was more than just an empty promise, since they have actually started a few projects immediately and have even 3D printed a couple of their municipalities with big companies such as Winsun, Apis Cor and others, While Dubai has always been infamous for very innovatie ways to go with the time in regards to architecture, this was even a big step for them, which puts them far ahead of any other european city in their progress about the 3D printed house.

Pioneers of the 3D printed house

Enrico Dini

Aforementioned italian engineer Enrico Dini is one of those people where you immediately realize that he cares. Cares about the housing crisis, the coral reefs, innovation…. The man who patented the D Shape technology definitely deserves to be on this list, considering everything he has done for the industry.

Behrokh Khoshnevis

The man whose name I have to copy-paste every time I google him can definitely be mentioned as a pioneer of the construction 3D printing industry. He invented the technique called “Contour Crafting“, which received interest from many notable companies and associations, such as NASA and Caterpillar inc. In a way, it is to this day the technique used for the 3D printed house. He, too has held a Ted Talk which you can check out, if you want to learn more about the technology.

If you are interested in the concept of the 3D printed house, please stick around and browse this website for a bit. I try to provide as much information as I can in order to inform everyone on this amazing new concept. There is some content on here and I will add more specific one in the future in order to offer you guys all you need to know about the 3D printed house.

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