3D-printed houses: Coming to a neighborhood near you?



Imagine if you could build a house in as little as a day, with almost no construction crew.

The 3D printer is poised to make that happen.

Architects, artists, designers and scientists are figuring out ways to use the budding technology to make building homes faster, easier and cheaper. While none of the prominent 3D projects are fully finished, some are starting to rise off the ground, layer by layer.

The process works similar to any other 3D printer, only instead of a printer roughly the size of a microwave, it’s the size of a building.

The homes are first designed using 3D modeling software, which uses a code to tell the printer where to move when printing the object’s layers. It is capable of taking into account gaps for things such as windows, plumbing, insulation and electrical wiring.

Then, a variety of materials – from plastics to concrete to recycled construction materials – are heated until they become liquids, then printed out layer after layer, to form the structure, as well as various other parts. The parts are put together, along with more common construction elements such as windows and doors, to make a completed building.

A few drawbacks exist, namely that these are new structures and so they are untested as far as structural integrity goes. There are still questions surrounding things such as material health, fireproofing, wind loads, foundations, insulation and longevity.

Click on to see five very different 3D-printed home projects that are piquing interest around the world.

This can certainly be put to use in third-world countries in fighting poverty.

“Life’s prime needs are water, bread, and clothing, a house, too, for decent privacy.”
-Sirach 29:21

LOVE! :heart:


I know the article mentioned that they don’t know how safe they would be but that would be the main thing that would bother me about such housing. I live in Southwestern Indiana and we typically have tornadoes every Spring. I would definitely want a home that would at least be relatively safe in a tornado, preferably one with a basement.

Sometimes people think I am obsessed when it comes to tornadoes but in my opinion, I have a good reason for it. I lived through an F4 tornado that wiped out half of my town when I was 7 years old. I will eternally be grateful that not only did God spare my life but He spared the lives of my family and many others too. Our town has a population of approximately 3000 people. Sadly, 3 people did lose their lives. If I recall correctly, they were all elderly. :frowning:


Holly, look at it this way. In a tornado hit area, 3-D printing of new homes would be no problem. And again, if another one hits.

Hopefully no lives will be lost, of course.


That’s true but I’d prefer them to be very safe so that way if anyone is home when a tornado does hit, they have a better chance of surviving.


Actually, I don’t want to see this. I doubt these homes would be trouble free (no such thing as trouble free building of any kind) but I would be especially worried about toxic chemicals or bi-products. (Plastics) I think some things should just stay as they are.

If anything changed I would rather see a move toward living structures that were more self sufficient in terms of energy use, and actually “living” at least in part. (Tree houses, other structures made more in cooperation with nature than an act against it.)


Or something as simple as concrete. You can shape it any way you want, and it keeps out both the cold and the heat. I don’t know how you get wires or plumbing through it, but I’m sure it’s doable. :slight_smile:


You make a good point. I would be worried about the potential impacts on the environment and upon humans as well because of this. After all, I doubt anyone wants to raise their children in a home which could potentially be toxic to them. Its kind of similar to how lead based paint can be dangerous for children, especially if they get the notion in them to eat chips of it.

Yeah that would be cool. Perhaps you could pour the concrete in a mold which would have holes in it and such for the wires?

That said, I wonder how tornado-resistant a concrete house would be. From what I understand, they put rebar (metal rods) inside the concrete to make it stronger. But even then, would it be strong enough to safely withstand a strong tornado?


Ideally, 3D printers are capable of working with any material (even organic ones that show potential for reconstructing certain human body parts).


As long as it’s not an Epson. :slight_smile:


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