Most people are familiar with the technology of 3D printing. Design a product or object on a computer such as jewelry, toys, musical instruments, boats, guns, and even a heavy-duty crane hook (click here for the story). Once the design is complete it’s sent to a 3D printer, which works a lot like an inkjet printer. The difference is a 3D printer builds a 3D model one layer at a time from the bottom upward using a substance such as molten plastic, metal, or powder, fused together by adhesive or ultraviolet light.
Home is where the print is
In recent years 3D printing has started to enter the housing market. How does one print an entire house? The process is just like other 3D printing but on a much larger scale. The printer itself looks like an oversized car wash that can weigh up to a couple of tons. Instructions are sent from a computer to racks that cover a ground-level area from 10 feet square to 100 feet square. A spout is attached to the racks which follows the floor plan specified by the computer. Instead of plastic or metal, the substance in this case is premixed cement applied by the spout in layers that harden together into concrete walls.
The process is being heralded as an efficient alternative to traditional homebuilding techniques by reducing production time and labor costs, yet the finished product is said to be stronger, more energy efficient, and provide better resistance to environmental hazards of Florida including hurricanes, flooding and mold. Additionally, the price point is within reach for many whose income doesn’t meet the lending prerequisites for conventional home purchases.
When will we see printed houses in other areas of Florida?
It’s not likely for a few years. The state’s first permitted 3D printed house is scheduled to be completed next month in Tallahassee, but the biggest challenge to growth in this market is that local building codes do not address 3D homes. South Florida regulations are especially strict regarding hurricane force winds.
A video of the state’s first 3D printed home under construction can be seen here.
Many more details can be read at Tampa Bay Times by clicking here. Image above is from the video linked above, courtesy of City of Tallahassee.
October 19, 2021