Are 3D printed houses the future?
This is a question a lot of people ask me, when they hear about the 3D printed house for the first time. They just sound so amazing at first glance, that one can not help to either be skeptical, or see it at the greatest invention since the wheel. Today, I am here to clear up a little bit of the uncertiainties and see what’s really behind the 3D printed house. But first of all, the short answer to:
Are 3D printed houses the future?
On the topic on 3D printed houses, there are many myths and legends. Be that as it may, when you strip all of them away, you will still see a very interesting technology which could definitely´find some applications in the future of constructions in order to render the process of building a house more affordable, more efficient and safer.
The problems of modern construction
For 3D printing to be the technology of the future, it should solve all the problems modern technology is facing. So, what I did is I went into google and simply googled the phrase: “problems modern construction”
As our good friends at fivesixtwo pointed out, there are 4 major challenges the construction industry is facing right now.
Challenge#1: Poor productivity
Challenge#2: Project performance
Challenge #3: Skilled labour shortages
Challenge #4: Sustainability concerns
The advantages of 3D printed construction
I have already talked extensively about the advantages of 3D printed construction on the homepage as well as in my pros and cons list. That is why here, I am just going to adress those advantages briefly, which will help the industry pervail in the future of construction.
Since there are fewer and fewer people to be willing to work in construction and even fewer willing to put in the work in order to becomer
high-skilled workers, it’s obvious that we have a problem with supply in demand here. Personally, I think there is nothing more satisfying and fulfilling than building your own house, but not everyone sees it like that. We need workers and we need them now! Which is, why 3D printed construction can help so much in this industry. Yes, we are still going to need skilled workers, but less and in the technological field,which is way more popuular than construction… So advantage one for the future is less need for skilled workers!
Another great point is the price. Houses are expensive, land is expensive. That makes living for many among us unbearably expensive. From my experience here in germany, I can tell you it’s horrible. The average german makes like 45k per year, but even a duplex in a nicer neighbourhood costs you a million bucks! So 3D printed construction produces less waste, needs less workers and is faster, making it a cheaper way to build.
+ less need for skilled workers
+ cheap way of buildng
On the other hand, many people hear the incredible stories in the tabloids amd are immediately blown away, calling the next construction company to please wreck their current home and build a quick 3D printed house over night, which is why here I will bust a couple of myths and misunderstandings on 3D printed construction.
Myth #1 Winsun has built 10 houses in 10 days
To understand why this is a myth, you simply have to understand Winsun as a company. They don’t bring construction 3D printers on site and let them work there, rather they 3D print all the elements in their company and then merely assemble them on site.
This is also why they haven’t actually built 10 houses in 10 days, they just assembled the parts for 10 houses which took way longer to build in 10 days.
Myth #2 3D printing entire houses
I talk more about this in my article on 3D printing an entire house, but the general thesis is that there has not been one house completely 3D printed yet. Usually, it is only the walls which are, and while you can 3D print other things as well, it’s usually not the same printer and oftentimes it is simply not as efficient as traditional methods. Maybe some day we will press a button and a printer just prints an entire house right before our eyes within a day, but in my humble opinion we still have a long way to go until that is the case.
3D printing houses seems awesome at first glance. Once you peel off the layers of marketing and bullshit, though, the technology is still awesome. Maybe a little more research needed and we need to learn a little bit more about the technology, but I think it is very likely to be one of the construction techniques of the future. Definitely do stay up to date on the topic to always learn about the most recent developments by subscribing to my newsletter!