3D printing is strongly penetrating the construction industry and 3D printed houses are becoming an affordable alternative for low-income families, with average prices ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 and a construction time between 24 to 48 hours or more, depending on the characteristics of each project (Source).
In this context, many people wonder, can I build my own 3D printed house? While it is possible for one to build his own 3D printed house, it would not make economic sense to build only one unit. Although the average cost of a one-bedroom home is around $10,000, this does not include the cost of the 3D printer, which can range from $35,000 to $120,000, or other factors such as home design or equipment and materials transportation, something that is not accessible to everyone.
For more on 3d printed houses expenses, check out our post: How much does a 3D printed house cost?
The construction of houses using 3D printing is becoming increasingly popular due to the significant cost reduction achieved with this technology. This and other factors make many people consider building their own 3D printed house.
However, there are a number of factors that make it difficult and in some cases unaffordable for an individual to build their own 3D printed house, especially equipment costs and some aspects of design and certification.
The Hidden Costs of Building Your Own 3D Printed House
Building houses using 3D printing is becoming more and more popular because people read on the Internet that they can have a new house in record time for an average cost that can vary from $4,000 to $50,000 – or more in some cases – depending on the size of the house (Source, Source, Source).
This doesn’t take into account the additional cost of the rest of the elements such as windows, doors, wiring, etc. Nor does it take into account the cost of a 3D printer and its transportation, whose averages costs can be between $35,000 and $120,000, a cost that the average family that aspires to buy a cheap house cannot afford.
Although there are some models of 3D printers that can be rented directly from the manufacturer, it is usually the construction companies that assume this rent by including it in the cost of construction per house, but this is only profitable for a construction company if it can build a minimum number of homes per project to allow for the economy of scale to dilute the fixed cost among several houses ( cost like transporting the 3d printer), since, for one or two homes, it would not be profitable.
If you are interested in investing in 3d printed houses, we recommend that you check out our post How to Invest in 3D Printed Houses ? What Are Your Options!
Are 3d Printed Houses Cheaper than Typical Houses ? !
3D Printed Homes Could Lead to Reduced Costs & Expanded Homeownership
3D printed homes have already proven they can be significantly less expensive than their traditionally-built counterparts – and they keep getting cheaper.
It’s common to expect expenses ranging from approximately $250,000 to $320,000 when building an average 3 bedroom home, but some experts estimate that using 3D printing technologies could lower these costs by anywhere from 20 to 40 percent. This breakthrough has led regions hit hard by poor housing markets to take a strong look at 3D printing as an alternative, even with some jurisdictions in the U.S. and Germany offering municipal loans to fund such projects.
Many 3D-printed homes can be built for just $10,000, with further advances in technology expected to further decrease it to only $4,000, thus creating an exciting opportunity for those who previously found it too expensive to enter the housing market. (Source)
Some of the major factors that have an impact on costs with regard to 3d printed homes can include:
- 3d Printer Transportation
- Economy of scale
One major reason tiny homes have become such a phenomenon worldwide is the fact there now exists a significant home affordability problem.
Once complete, 3D printed homes are less expensive to maintain than a normal, wood-constructed home. A leader in 3D home technology out of Austin, Texas, tech company “ICON” projects that industry advancements could drop the cost of creating a home to just $4,000, and there’s already an impoverished region of Mexico with individuals living on just $3 a day residing in these inexpensive, 3D-printed homes. (Source)
That’s right, Mexican social housing organization Èchale has partnered with the Austin construction technology pioneer ICON to erect two houses specifically designed for low-income families in Tanasco, Mexico.
Not only that, but areas such like Tallahassee, Florida in the United States face staggering home affordability problems, leading local lawmakers there to take action to fund more affordable 3D printed homes.
Husband and wife development duo James and Kyndra Light are asking between just $175,000 to $225,000 for their massive 1,440 square foot, 3D printed dwelling. Partnering with government officials in Tallahassee, they were able to get their project funded at least in part by the City of Tallahassee which is looking to counter the rising cost of homes throughout the city.
They also claim that it will be better equipped to handle inclement weather such as flooding, which is common within the region.
3D homes present such a dynamic opportunity to save money in a wide variety of ways. For example, the cost typically involved with hiring a team to do construction work can be entirely erased from a construction project, potentially saving thousands of dollars.
Also, these homes are often superior in build quality to their conventional counterparts, which can produce huge savings in energy and home insurance expenses. The future for 3D printed homes looks very bright – and the sun has only just begun to dawn upon the horizon!
What Are Construction 3D Printers and How Do They Work?
Construction 3D printers are machines used to build houses and other structures, including bridges or outdoor decorations, using a pasty material – usually concrete – that is ejected through a hose onto a flat surface layer by layer, based on a design previously created by computer.
|3D Printer Model||Cost (USD)||Build Dimensions||Company|
|MudBots Concrete 3D Printer||$35,000||21945 x 21945 x 14630 mm||MudBots|
|Crane WASP “Infinity 3D Printer”||$145,500||6300 x 300 mm||WASP|
|COBOD BOD2||$199,995||14620 x 50520 x 8140 mm||COBOD|
|ICON Vulcan 2||$450,000+||2600 x 8500 x 2600 mm||ICON|
The main advantage of construction 3D printers is that they allow significant cost, time, and effort savings in contrast to the traditional methods used in the construction industry by requiring less qualified personnel for the work.
On the other hand, current 3D printers are only capable of building the main structure of a house, that is, the frame, the walls and some decorative elements, being necessary to add the rest of the components such as windows, doors, and roof separately
The Ins and Outs of Building Your Own 3D Printed House
Although there is a significant reduction in costs and construction time, this doesn’t mean that building a house with a 3D printer is easy. The technology is still in its infancy and there is still time to get there (Source).
On the one hand, although the operation of this type of 3D printer requires a minimum of personnel – usually, two people – it is necessary that these personnel have at least some basic knowledge in the use of computers.
A separate case is the knowledge of computer graphic design and architecture that is required to be able to design a house that can withstand environmental conditions, such as mold, hurricanes, and flooding without collapsing, just to name a few dangers (Source).
On the other hand, the construction of a house requires a series of verifications and certifications to ensure that the construction is safe to be inhabited by people. In the event that a newly built home fails to obtain the required certification, the owner could be subject to penalties (Source, Source).