3d printing promises to revolutionize every industry. The ability to quickly produce a wide range of custom, detailed items in any shape or configuration means that manufacturers can adapt and change designs on the fly. In the building world, 3d printing technology can allow builders to create structural elements of houses and other buildings in as little as 24 hours. (Source)
Inside the walls, HVAC, electricity, and plumbing need to be installed, providing residents with modern utilities necessary for daily life. Current 3d house printers do not install these critical elements, meaning that an extra step is required to make a 3d printed house livable.
Do 3d Printed Houses Have Electricity and Plumbing?
3d printed houses that are built for people to live in have all of the utilities and amenities you’d expect from a home, including electricity, plumbing, and HVAC. If a 3d-printed house is built for demonstration, however, it might skip these components for a faster “build time” or as a way to cut costs.
The 3d printer itself usually only creates walls. Components like wiring, windows, walls, doors, and even the roof of the house are typically added later, while the foundation must be built before the 3d printer even starts. (Source)
In some builds, 3d printed houses are specially designed to make space for wiring, plumbing, and other elements, ensuring that they’re easy to install later. For more on this topic, check out our post Could A House Be 3D Print To Include Plumbing and Electrical Components?
How Do They Wire A 3d Printed House?
After a 3d printer makes the walls of a 3d printed house, it is wired by regular human professionals. A good design with plenty of space for wiring and plumbing can make this process fast and efficient, but it can still take months to finish a 3d printed house after the printer has produced the walls. A 3d printed residential building in Germany, for example, was printed in 100 hours and took ten months of human labor before it was considered complete. (Source)
The human labor element of 3d printed buildings is a major obstacle that likely needs to be addressed before 3d printed buildings become more mainstream.
Traditional construction techniques have been iterated upon for centuries, meaning that construction crews know what to build when and can seamlessly integrate things like wiring and plumbing into the construction process.
Note that 3d printed buildings have only been around for a few years. As the technology improves and we get better at working with 3d printers, it’s likely that we’ll be able to figure out faster and more efficient ways of working, allowing us to install these critical utilities faster and shave months off of the final project time of a 3d printed building.