Could 3D Printing Solve an Affordable Housing Shortage?

Working 3d printerA joint venture’s use of 3D printing technology could be the long-awaited solution to a housing problem in the US and elsewhere in the world.

The partnership between a Texas-based startup company and a housing non-profit group involves the construction of 3D-printed homes made of cement, which only takes 12 to 24 hours. It takes about six months to construct an average single-family property, which is a factor for the shortage of low-cost houses.

Low-Cost Housing

The best part of this new development, however, could be the low cost of building homes from the ground up. Home builders only need to spend $10,000 for the construction of 3D homes. The joint developers of the technology even hope to lower that price to $4,000.

The construction method will require large 3D robots to print a structure that already has a living room, bedroom, bathroom and even a porch. Each house will span between 600 and 800 square feet. It may be a bit smaller than an average-sized apartment in New York, but it is bigger than most types of usual homes.

3D Printing Revolution

Industry experts believe that 3D-printed homes represent a new breakthrough in product manufacturing, as this trend would continue in the future. Villageplastics.com explains that 3D printing is ideal for rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing, with manufacturers using High Impact Polystyrene (HIPS) filament to 3D-print toys. The healthcare sector also uses 3D printing to create affordably priced prosthetics.

For the housing sector, the joint venture plans to launch 100 3D-printed houses in El Salvador over the next 18 months. If the project is successful, the technology could also find its way to the US.

Low labor expenses and cheap materials are some of the reasons 3D-printed homes only cost a fraction of average-priced houses, so it may not be surprising if 3D technology becomes a common practice in the housing construction industry.