3D Printed Houses: All the Completed Projects on the Market
We have seen many projects announcing houses built in less than 24 hours using a very promising 3D printing technology. In the face of so much promise, one must be wary: few of these initiatives have actually seen the light of day and when they do, let’s not be mistaken about what is actually 3D printed. Let’s be clear, today a 3D printed house only has its walls designed by the 3D printer. This is already an innovation in itself because it makes it possible to go faster, to create shapes impossible to make using traditional techniques, and at a lower cost. Additive manufacturing in construction also makes it possible to address building in areas that are difficult to access, or in conflict and can potentially respond to a crisis situation. At the moment, we do not yet have enough hindsight to say that a 3D printed house is more durable and will prove its worth over time, but it is important to point out that there are some in the world. So here are 10 3D printed houses!
A 3D printed social housing in Nantes
In April 2017, the University of Nantes launched the Yhnova project with a clear objective: to build social housing quickly and at reduced costs. To achieve this, the project’s actors used an innovative 3D printing method that consists of extruding two layers of polyurethane foam and a third layer of concrete as insulation. They erected the walls of this 95-square-metre dwelling in 54 hours. It then took an additional 4 months to install the windows, roof and doors. According to project stakeholders, the construction of the house will have cost 20% less than traditional techniques, proof that additive manufacturing has a real interest in the construction sector. Today, the project has given birth to the startup BatiPrint3D, which will focus on 3D printing of tomorrow’s buildings.
A residence in Mexico
New Story and ICON are working together to build the homes of tomorrow: the two companies have started to develop a residence with 3D printed houses in Mexico. The machine developed by ICON, the Vulcan II, would be capable of designing a 46 square meter house in just 24 hours. The partners want to combat homelessness: each home is supposed to accommodate people with less than $3 a day. It consists of two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.
A first project in Africa
Startup Be More 3D is one of the first Spanish companies to develop a concrete 3D printer. Born in the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the startup announced a few months ago that it had succeeded in 3D printing house on the African continent, in Morocco to be precise. It is a 32 m2 house created in less than 12 hours, thanks to the extrusion technology developed by the startup. It was built as part of the Solar Decathlon Africa 2019 competition held in the town of Benguérir in Morocco. The project allows to reduce construction costs while reducing the waste rate, CO2 emissions and professional risks that can occur on a construction site.
A 3D printed house in Russia
In 2017, the Apis Cor company made a lot of noise on the additive manufacturing market by presenting one of the first 3D printed houses in the world! The 38 m2 building, located in the Moscow region, would have been built using a mobile 3D printer capable of covering an area of 132 m2 in an incredible time of less than 24 hours. The machine used would be able to withstand extremely low temperatures (-35°C according to the manufacturer). The 3D printed house has a flat roof with a polymer coating on which solid plates have been added to resist various weather conditions.
A 3D printed administrative centre in Dubai
The world’s largest 3D printed building is currently located in Dubai on two floors. It is 9.5 metres high and has a surface area of 640 m2. It took 17 days to print it. So no, it’s not a 3D printed house per se, but the size of the project is worth mentioning here. The municipality of Dubai used Apis Cor’s technology, which enabled it to generate 60% less waste. Only 15 workers were needed on the construction site – twice as many as with conventional construction processes. The project meets the city’s goal of printing 25% of its buildings by 2030.
SQ3D designs a 46 square meter 3D printed house
In August 2019, the American company SQ3D (S-Squares 3D Printers) unveiled its 3D printed house, designed using an XXL machine: it uses a robotic arm mounted on a gantry around the construction site. In just 12 hours, the manufacturer said it had erected the small 46-square-metre house at a cost of $2,000. SQ3D’s goal is to offer its 3D printing technology to disadvantaged areas and to build more accessible housing. However, the manufacturer is still rather vague about the material used and the parts of the house that were 3D printed.
Gaia, an eco-sustainable house model
The 3D printer manufacturer WASP has gained recognition in the industry for its 3D printers dedicated to the construction sector. One of the projects completed by the Italian company is Gaia, a small 3D printed house made from organic materials. The house is about 30 square meters and is located in Shamballah, a small Italian village which includes a couple of different 3D printed houses by WASP. 3D printed back in 2018, WASP used its Crane 3D printer to build it from raw soil and natural materials coming from the rice production chain. It took around 10 days of 3D printing to complete its construction. More than a 3D printed house, this is a perfect example of an eco-sustainable house model!
The BOD, first 3D printed building in Europe
COBOD, based in Denmark, 3D printed the first building in Copenhagen back in 2017 with its BOD printer. The idea for this project came from the company’s participation in the Danish government-funded project 3D Construction Printing where it realized that Europe was somewhat falling behind in this field. That’s why it decided to create The BOD building, a small 3D printed office, measuring 50 square meters and made of concrete. Since, the concrete 3D printing company has released a new 3D printer, BOD2, which it has already sold to Saudi Arabia to accelerate its plans of 3D printing homes for its population. The BOD2 printer is large enough to print three storey buildings of more than 300 square meters per storey.
Project Milestone, a community of 3D printed houses
In the Netherlands, the development of 3D printed houses is beginning to take shape: more than a year ago, several Dutch companies announced the creation of the first housing estate developed with 3D technologies. The project, called Project Milestone, is the brainchild of Eindhoven University of Technology and four other partner companies – together they have designed five houses for different families. Four of them will be two-storey, the last one will be a single-storey house. The project has not yet started. We hope that it will be able to see the light of day very soon!
MARSHA, a 3D printed house on Mars
One of man’s great dreams is the conquest of space. Therefore, projects have to develop houses in space that could withstand adversity have started. A few years ago, we told you about the ESA Lunar Village, but one project that stands out is MARSHA, created by AI SpaceFactory for a NASA competition. This house was designed to be installed on the planet Mars. For its development, they plan to use 3D printing and local materials, avoiding the need to bring in materials from Earth. It is planned that the construction will be 34m2 and will be in the shape of a cylinder to optimize the space and security against temperature changes. Like Project Milestone, this initiative is still in the planning stage.
What do you think of these different projects? What is the impact of 3D printing in the construction sector? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Sign up for our free weekly Newsletter, all the latest news in 3D printing straight to your inbox!