Are you ready for a 3D printed house? They are cheaper, stronger and more durable, according to the developers


The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home has a corduroy patterned exterior, rounded corners, and a pour of cement oozing out of an industrial-sized tube of toothpaste. And, most intriguing of all, it came from a 3D printer.

When the Tallahassee, Florida home is completed next month, Kyndra and James Light, a husband-wife development team, will ask for $ 175,000 to $ 225,000 for the 1,440-square-foot unit.

Printed homes are said to be faster to make, stronger, and resistant to Florida hazards such as mold, hurricanes, and flooding. And most crucial of all: they seem poised to offer affordable housing in a state where many have forgotten that there can be such a thing.

We’re all used to hearing about 3D printed objects like face masks, jewelry, jet engines, construction equipment, and even guns. It is a method of developing a three-dimensional object, layer by layer, through the use of computer-generated designs.

The process of building a 3D house is similar, but the printer itself looks less like those increasingly common in workplaces and more like an oversized car wash. The printers weigh almost a few tons, cost $ 500,000 to $ 700,000, and include sophisticated computer programs to control the build. They relay instructions to racks, which can range in size from 10 feet long by 10 feet high to 100 feet by 100 feet. Attached to the racks is a spout, which moves back and forth across the site, directing the premixed cement according to the design. The mixture then hardens into a concrete structure.

“Make no mistake, these homes aren’t your average test models,” said Lights, owners of Precision Building & Renovating in Tallahassee. “The finished product is far superior in terms of strength, durability and efficiency. “

From coast to coast, 3D printed homes are gaining ground as a possible alternative to making housing more affordable in cities plagued by soaring prices and dwindling inventory. The idea is to reduce production time and labor costs and sell solidly built houses at prices that are affordable for low-income people.

Other 3D house projects in North America include:

  • A two-bedroom, two-bathroom print home in Riverhead, NY, listed this summer at $ 299,999.

  • Four homes in Austin, Texas that were to be occupied over the summer.

  • 15 “green” homes under construction near Palm Springs, California.

  • And in Mexico, a 3D printed neighborhood for families living on $ 3 a day.

The Tallahassee house project has garnered a lot of attention from visitors, including state lawmakers, as well as support from the city, Kyndra Light said.

James Light said the couple had frequently spoken for two years with city code officials, commissioners and local agencies.

“Tallahassee being the state capital, there are a lot of representatives here – that kind of help,” he said. “It was a spark of interest, ‘Hey, here’s a solution to a major problem I have. “

That problem is affordable housing.

The project is funded in part by the City of Tallahassee Affordable Housing Loan Program. Once the house is completed, its price will be capped at 80% of the region’s median income.

The cost of maintaining the home will be less than that of a standard wood-frame home, the Lights said.

“The wood breaks and rots, especially here in the South,” said James Light. “Over time, we will be able to offer investment opportunities to families that are more accessible and with a longer range of returns. “

The company that poured the concrete for the Tallahassee project has several projects in Florida underway, the owners said in an email.

Jim Ritter and Fredrik Wannius, co-founders of Printed Farms, have accepted delivery of their first printing machine in August 2020 from Denmark.

The “closed-shell construction system,” said Wannius, “produces a hurricane and flood-resistant building by taking plasterboard from the walls and using a nearly waterproof printing material.”

He said a 1,540 square foot home can be produced in two to three weeks, depending on inspections, the roofing system and whether windows and exterior doors are installed.

“It goes from forming the slab to covering the roof,” he said. “We can print the walls in four to five days.

Wannius said his company has not encountered any local building code issues to date.

“We are approved for the design and advancement of structural engineering,” he said. “It will prove that building upscale and luxury homes is cheaper and of better quality than the classics. … Our design freedom makes the cost much lower because the curves do not add expensive forming costs. This house will have the first 3D printed swimming pool.

Wannius said Printed Farms is also negotiating to build a two-story house in Tampa for a client and is looking to build a single-family home for the University of Miami, an Airbnb for another client and a luxury horse farm in 2022. .

“These projects have been handpicked from 600 applications since February,” he said.

“The housing industry has not changed its overall methods of building homes in the past 50 years,” said Brad Hunter, president of Hunter Housing Economics in West Palm Beach. “Innovations like 3D and modular construction will start to gain popularity.

“I think there is going to be an accelerated pace of innovation in housing over the next five to ten years.”

Mike Pappas, CEO of real estate services firm Keyes Co., agreed that 3D has a future.

“I think we are at the embryonic stage,” he said. “There are people who bet big on this. They see it as the future. I’ve heard that the building’s strength is because poured concrete is actually stronger than a typical house.

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