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3D-printed homes

by Floro Mercene

It might be one of the more promising potential habitat technologies to solve the global housing crises. There are 1.2 billion people in the world live without adequate housing according to a report.

More and more manufacturers are exploring the world of construction 3D printing, also known as house 3D printing. Paste-type material, such as concrete or mud, is pushed through the house 3D printer’s nozzle in layers. 3D printing in the construction industry helps save time, effort and material.

Excavation still has to happen for concrete foundations, and the windows, roof, and interior mechanicals like electricity and plumbing can’t be poured by a printer. Although 3D printing has been used in building fabrication before, printing on-site using a universally available building material is a new step. A mobile 3D printer is used to print out the house’s concrete walls, partitions and building envelope, and this printing takes 12 to 24 hours only. Workers have to manually paint it and install the roofing materials, wiring, hydro-acoustic and thermal insulation, but this doesn’t take much time. A model house, a single-story 650-square-foot house, features a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and curved porch. The company claims it costs just about $10,000 to be built. These houses are tiny but it is a step toward providing shelter to those in underserved communities. Proto-type model house will be tested out for its practical use.

If all goes according to plan, a community made up about 100 homes will be constructed for residents in El Salvador next year. An Austin-based startup, ICON, has partnered with New Story, a nonprofit that is vested in international housing solutions, has been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia.