Manufacturers of 3D printers have long said that 3D-printed concrete construction technology is lifting construction possibilities to the next level, but now it can be said literally. 3D-printed home construction had been limited to one-story dwellings because widely available 3D printers in the U.S. were not capable of printing taller structures. However, a new collaboration of companies hopes to change that and revolutionize the way 3D printing is implemented in home construction.
About the project
The collaboration, which will create the first 3D-printed multistory family home in the U.S., involves architectural designers from Cornell University and HANNAH, a design-research company; PERI 3D Construction; and CIVE, a design-build firm.
The home is being printed in Houston, Texas, and is the result of a collective effort between design researchers that lasted for over two years.
Project representatives said a hybrid approach that involves wood framing was developed for the construction of the home, which will be a two-story structure with a modern architectural appearance.
The principals of HANNAH said the project “highlights the exciting design potential of mass-customized architectural components to meet homeowners’ needs and to simplify building-system integration.”
The collaboration used COBOD BOD2 printers on the project. Fabian Meyer-Brötz, CEO of PERI 3D Construction, said the Texas home is the company’s largest 3D-printed construction project to date.
Why it matters
“We are convinced that it will set new standards from a design, as well as a printing execution, perspective, and underlines our role as the frontrunner for this new construction technique,” said Meyer-Brötz.
Other companies like Black Buffalo 3D, which offers its NEXCON printers, are also vying for position in the industry as 3D-printed construction becomes more viable.
Philip Lund-Nielsen, a co-founder of COBOD International, explained some of the reasons behind 3D-printed construction’s rise in the past few years.
“The fact that you’re only 3D printing what you need means you reduce the waste on-site,” he said.”
As an example, Lund-Nielsen said electricians and plumbers will often have to carve out holes in concrete during conventional construction, which causes waste.
Additionally, 3D printing can be completed at a quicker pace than other construction methods, with projects now being completed in a matter of days.
“With 3D printing you simply print what you need,” Lund-Nielsen added. “And we can also design it in ways that you don’t need the walls to be load bearing all around. You can just have centered columns.