Over the last 6 months or so, I wrote a few articles covering 3D Printing along with the construction industry. This is something that is going to change how we build things.
A couple months back, I highlighted a couple projects that received attention over the last year. These were entry level experiments that were done in an effort to give researchers and developers some idea of a baseline to work from.
These are pictures from that post.
The first structure is 500 square feet and has a cost of $4,000 and that printing technique is being used in Mexico to build 50 homes to people who are literally living in huts. This non-profit project seeks to be the first 3D Printed community in the world.
For $10,000 we see the second one printed. This is a bit larger in size and was done in a hostile environment.
It is important to note that these costs are just for the shell of the house. All other finishing is being done as normal.
Today, I came across an article that showed us this structure.
SQ4D, the builder of the home, claims this is the largest 3D Printed home in the world.
It is a 1,900 foot structure which was completed over 8 days, with a total print time of 48 hours. What is most fascinating is the entire material cost for the shell was $6,000.
The article goes on to explain:
SQ4D explains that the system is able to reduce the labor required to construct a home for as little as 3 people, accounting for up to 41% of the total construction of a house. It eliminates over 20 manual labor-intensive processes like siding, framing, sheathing, etc., helping to achieve faster build times. These 3D printed structures are said to be mold and fire-resistant and built to withstand severe weather.
This is astonishing. Reducing the labor dramatically drops the cost. When you think that 41% of the total construction was done with the printer, we have to realize we are looking at the potential for a major shift.
Of course, when dealing with technology, present figures do not suffice. The trend with most cost of most technologies is down and this is no exception.
Now that construction of the larger 1900-square-foot home is complete, SQ4D has explained that it expects the print-time of houses to be halved in the future thanks to additional enhancements implemented within ARCS technology.
The article did not explain how long it would take to realize the halving of cost but it is safe to presume it is going to be within a year or two. From what I have seen within the 3D Print Industry, things are moving at a rapid pace. These prototypes that are being erected are basically a proof-of-concept.
As they show the true costs, I cannot believe the national home builders in a country like the United State would not be all over this. I am certain they are watching these developments very closely.
At present, one of the biggest problems the big builders have is profitably producing affordable housing. What this means is the Millennials, especially, are not into the large homes. They prefer something a bit smaller along with a much less expensive price tag.
Home builders are facing an issue when trying to target that market. Perhaps this technology will help them get there. Houses that cost $275,000 and on up are not of great interest to many of the younger people. They are looking for homes in the sub $150,000 range.
It is worthwhile to keep an eye on what is taking place here. We know the construction industry involves a lot of dollars. If the builders can figure out a way to significantly reduce their costs with building a home, it will radically alter the landscape of what is put up. The market demand is there according to what the national outfits are saying.
3D Print technology just might be what gets them there. Now that a proof-of-concept is in place, the technology exists to 3D Print 1,300-1,500 sq. ft. homes.
There could well be a sweet spot for the home builders in this range.
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