A home-building process that uses a 3D printer to produce cement walls may finally crack the code on affordable housing. Imagine a giant printer that squeezes out row after row of cement as it traces the footprint of the home, building out all the walls, both internal and external. A two-person crew is there to watch and troubleshoots errors as the skeleton of the structure goes up over a period of eight to nine days. Then the machine backfill walls, as the crew installs anchor bolts and assembles pre-built timber pieces for the roof. When the structure is complete, finishers come in to finish walls, paint, apply siding, and roof, while a third crew installs fixtures and appliances. The method is said to be stronger and more durable than wood-frame construction house at half the building cost.
Here’s a look at one of the giant printers in motion on a job site:
The method has been in use in Austin for a few years, building housing for the homeless. Now an independent developer is testing the market with a cottage on the North Fork of Long Island, NY.
It’s thought that the modest cape-cod style three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a two-car garage will appeal to both new home buyers as well as those looking for an affordable retreat in an area where the mix of suburban and summer homes can get quite pricey.
What do you think? Personally, I’d like to see the process applied to a type of structure that lends itself to concrete application, like an adobe house or a Brutalist building, rather try to recreate the look and feel of a timber home.