Every new innovation comes to the market with a price that tends to go down over time. Large concrete 3D printers are no exception.
Just as with most technologies, the prices are dropping as new, better, and more affordable products are being developed. Further helping prices to lower are new, innovative concrete mixes.
As there are a number of companies dabbling in 3D printed buildings around the globe, it’s impossible to give an exact price for 3D printed houses. Instead, we’ll check out a few of the most recent and promising projects and their reported prices.
That said, you’ll see that a 3D printed house can cost as low as $10,000, and sometimes even less. Let’s take a look!
I am sort of skeptical about this. I work in construction and although I have no fears of 3d printed houses replacing carpenters, there are some structural/practical things that come to mind.
- Concrete buildings are super cold, you’ll have to spend more to heat it, also I would think that the walls would be much thicker than a traditional wood build home. In a traditional build wall, you have the outer wall finishing, plywood on top of a frame, then insulation and wiring/pipes, vapor barrier and then your drywall.
How do they plan on insulating the house and running the wires? Sure in the image it shows wiring in metal pipes, but that only works so well for electrical. I cannot see a way to put in your water pipes unless you case them in a structure made out of metal or wood. Same with HVAC. even in traditional construction we have to hide HVAC sometimes in a bulkhead, but given that everything is concrete, it feels much more industrial.
- Are they only using the 3d concrete printer for the exterior walls, or are they doing the internal walls as well?
If they are going to just do the external walls, okay I guess, but at the same time you’d still need internal walls framed up to section off the inside, hold doors etc. It won’t completely replace traditional framing.
- Still has the limitation of only doing one floor.
You’ll still need a crew to build above one floor.
- Building codes are not very likely to adopt this new technology in this century.
Building codes are notorious for being difficult to change. Even when something is backed by science it takes an extremely long time to get things put into the building code, even small changes! Also, just because it’s backed by the code, doesn’t mean that contractors and the general public are going to be open to this new technology. I can see it take a very long time for people to warm up to this idea.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for advances in building technology, but we have to recognize that there are more hurdles to overcome than what may first be apparent. Here’s to hoping we can solve some of those issues!
Also I’ve seen a framing crew of 6 guys frame out 2 houses in a day
- So concrete is being used as a monolithic structure in eco friendly houses now, due to the thermic properties, yes it takes a long time to heat but also to cool.
So building a fireplace into a concrete wall takes time to heat up, but once it does it turns the entire wall into a radiant heater. In the summer it still takes a long time to heat up, longer then the daylight if only using the sun.
the examples I’ve been seeing, use an inner and outer layer of concrete, with urethane foam or equivalent inbetween.
I have no solution to multiple floors lol
several municipal building codes have started allowing straw bale houses, rammed earth houses, container houses, as long as an engineer signs off on the process in question. All you would need is that stamp, and to have it marked as an eco-friendly home.
I also spent a number of years as a contractor
best thing might be to not try and 3d print these on site but print components and assemble them on site. Could be very successful because in a factory setting the conditions can be more controlled and fitting it out with plumbing , electrical and insulation can be more assembly line style. Think Habitat 67 but 3d printed
What material would you use to build them in a shop as a prefab? Concrete holds together well while in large slabs and insitu but thinner sections don’t exactly travel well
The only thing I can possibly see doing is making grids of rebar inside a form and just doing flat prints, and then you transport and tilt up into place?
almost every commercial building is made this way with flat slabs made elsewhere and bolted to steel frames on site. they go up in hours after the frames are up. My example was Habitat 67, built as concrete forms that we later assembled on site 10 or 12 stories high were built this way. they are still luxury condos today. They were put together in such a way that every unit had a balcony and a view most were around 1000sq feet. I was expensive to do in the '60s but if you were 3d printing in concrete or some flowable material it could work. even if you had to set up a portable sort of concrete plant to turn these out nearby it could work.
This is true, but for a regular bungalow, 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house on one floor,
If you 3d print,
You make a slab foundation, let’s call that week 1
you pay one truck to haul the printer there, and setup, calibrate etc, 3 days,
Pour the house, with say 5 cement trucks worth of haul, we will er on caution and say 4 days
3 days to put up rafters, sheath the roof and shingle. (With a decent crew) and have a stucco guy smooth the exterior.
In three weeks your exterior is done and you’ve moved on to interior and exterior finishing.
After a month and a half you’ve built a house with virtually no over head. No warehouse or factory, no rent, just materials and labor cost. This simplifies it of course, but I can totally get the appeal.
It’s like a construction company version of a food truck.
Mind you for anything larger yes I would want more substantial slabs etc, so for larger projects that totally makes sense. For economical affordable housing this country desperately needs? This is a great way to achieve that
Housing costs are on a runaway. A bungalow just like described just sold for 500,000 next to my inlaws in the middle of nowhere with no real yard or anything. Investment properties charging more then a mortgage for rent. Hell there’s tent cities popping all over the nation because people can’t afford the system we are building up And god help you if you want to buy your first house as a young couple with kids without help