While 3D printing technology also known as additive manufacturing comes with a vast range of benefits in the construction industry such as customization, streamlined logistics, freedom of design, and easy prototyping, it also comes with many problems. In order to fully understand this transformational technology, here are some of the problems with 3D printed houses we have identified.
With the considerable advancements in 3D printing technology, great life alternatives to life have been achieved. One of the key rising alternatives in 3D printing applications is in the construction industry.
Today, 3D technology in the construction industry is becoming a reality. Many people are now buying and residing in 3D-printed homes.
These new developments in 3D printed homes are exciting, however, some problems have been witnessed with 3D printed houses. Questions about whether 3D constructed houses are safe to live in or whether these houses are better than the traditionally constructed houses have been alarming. For more on this you can check out our post Is a 3D Printed Home Structurally Safe? , Are 3D printed houses fireproof? & Can 3D Printed House Withstand Earthquakes? Design and Foundation Limitations
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3D printed homes are said to be a safer alternative compared to traditionally constructed homes. They have been seen as more durable and stronger than the traditionally constructed houses. They are intended and planned to endure harsh weather conditions and natural disasters. Read more on this in our post Are 3D Printed Houses Hurricane Proof?.
However, we do not have any established long-term safety standards yet to assess 3D printed architecture for residential houses. The 3D printed house technology is still a new technology that requires certain standard approvals to enable proper evaluation of its functionality.
While there is a vast range of benefits associated with the use of 3D printing technology in the construction industry, the technology is still very new. There are quite a number of challenges associated with the use of 3D printing technology in the real estate construction industry.
For more on this, check out our list of 3D Printed House Advantages and Disadvantages
- Key problems with 3D printed houses
- Final Thoughts
Key problems with 3D printed houses
Investment in 3D printed houses has been on the rise with a target to solve the problems of providing shelter to the homeless or house shortages. However, this promising investment has its own shortfalls.
Probably one of the key problems is regulating 3D printed construction within the construction industry. There are no standard procedures or building codes that can allow approval of 3D printed homes for residential use.
Government authorities must clearly establish standard codes concerning plumbing, public safety, structural integrity, and electrical laws. Before these codes are determined, making 3D printed houses viable will be an uphill task.
2- Inadequate professionals
Another key concern with 3D printed houses is the lack of professionals within this industry. Since 3D printing technology is relatively new, there is a scarcity of engineers and architects that are specialized in constructing 3D printed residential houses.
Engineers must also get used to various 3D design methods. The 3D design process should be adapted properly since traditional blueprints are not compatible with 3D printers.
As 3D printing technology infiltrates the construction industry, there is a gap in the number of employees with professional knowledge to perform, design and operate 3D printing machines.
Therefore, construction companies must invest money and time in training their employees both seasoned and incoming engineers. This may be challenging since seasoned manufacturing engineers are usually very reluctant to learn new technology.
3- Finding raw materials may not be accessible
Another problem with 3D-printed houses is the limitation of the type of material used for 3D printing construction. Ever since the invention of 3D printing technology in the construction industry, finding quality 3D printing construction material has been an uphill task.
Very few raw materials are available for use in 3D printing. Most 3D printers also require specific printing materials, meaning it may not be possible to one raw material on different 3D printer models. For example, check out Can You Make a 3D Printed House out Of Clay?
Until now, plastic, clay, and concrete materials are the only materials used to construct 3D printed houses. You cannot use your 3D printer to manufacture steel and wood structures.
4- Negative impact on the job market
In this age of digitization, most jobs today are automated. 3D printing technology will have a huge impact on the housing industry and manpower.
3D printing technology in the housing industry will also threaten those supplying construction material and equipment.
Ordinarily, you don’t necessarily require specialized skills to work in a construction firm. However, you require specialized skills to design and construct 3D printed homes.
Moving the 3D printer within the construction site from one place to another may be challenging. Operating the 3D printer safely on-site may also be an uphill task.
6- Increased risk
There is increased risk during construction since 3D printers prints everything on the design or model all at once. However, the fault is not in the printer if the blunder is in the design. This is because fixing any error after the design has been printed is difficult.
7- Economy of Scale is Essential
For a 3d printed house to make commercial sense, the cost of transporting and setting out the printer must be spread out over a number of structures.
Also, the overall time taken to produce an object using 3D printing technology depends on the speed of the printer and the number of layers to be printed which is also translated to cost. For more on this, check out Can I Build My Own 3D Printed House? Hidden Costs & Prices of Construction 3D Printers!
8- 3D printed houses technology isn’t standardized
While 3D printing technology enables engineers to create single items reasonably cheaply, it comes at a cost to quality sometimes. Most 3D printers produce products that are of low quality compared to those made via traditional manufacturing.
One key reason for these low standard products is due to lack of universal standardization. Most manufacturing companies and end-users have been having a difficult time stating with certainty that products or parts made through 3D printing technology will be of consistent quality, reliability, and strength.
While there have been efforts to standardize this through American bodies such as AMSC (The American Makes and ANSI Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative), this has not been realized fully within the construction industry.
9- Hight restriction
At the moment, the majority of 3d house printers can print no more than one story building with the exception of a few that can go up to 2 story buildings.
3D Printed houses are fairly a new concept and there is no practical evidence at this point in time that was tested for a prolonged period of time to assert that 3D-printed houses are feasible to live in as permanent residences.
However, 3D printing technology has greatly advanced, and it’s still yet even under further development. 3D printing technology has been used today to construct homes for the homeless or disaster relief campaigns. The technology is a time-saving, eco-friendly, and cheaper alternative which makes it an attractive advancement to be further explored and tested.