The potential of 3D printing in the construction industry is mind-blowing.
Not only is it challenging traditional construction as a reliable construction method of the future, but it also comes with outstanding benefits.
- Are 3D Printed Houses Durable? How Long Do 3D Printed Houses Last?
- What Are the Benefits of 3D Printed Homes?
- What Are the Disadvantages of 3D Printed Houses?
- How Long Do 3D Printed Houses Last?
- How Much Does a 3D Printer for Houses Cost?
- Is a 3D Printed House Cheaper Than a Regular One?
- Future Outlook of 3D Printed Houses. Is 3D Printing Houses the Future?
- Common Materials Used in Construction 3D Printing
- Can You 3D Print a Car?
From being eco-friendly to cost-effective, 3D printed structures are adored all over as an energy-efficient alternative to traditional construction methods.
However, the longevity of these 3D-printed buildings has been a topic of concern for ages.
This article discusses the durability of 3D-printed houses and whether or not they’re a modern-day answer to housing problems.
Are 3D Printed Houses Durable? How Long Do 3D Printed Houses Last?
Yes, 3D printed houses are considered durable structures.
However, their longevity entirely depends on a few factors, such as the raw materials used, type of printer, and quality.
These houses’ designs can withstand natural disasters that can render their lifetime short but up to a limited range.
For example, while a 3D printed house can withstand earthquakes, its exterior walls might not do well against hurricanes or floods.
What Are the Benefits of 3D Printed Homes?
3D printing technology has impressive and surprising benefits in the construction industry, including:
- Design freedom
- Energy efficient
- Less construction time
- Environmentally friendly
3D printing allows architects to create complex designs by quickly laying curvilinear form structures instead of the old rectilinear forms using concrete blocks.
The printing device can conveniently manipulate the shape of materials such as concrete, thermoplastic, and metal.
3D printing eliminates more than 50% of construction waste from traditional construction methods. Some creations can also use solar energy, making it more efficient than old-school techniques.
3D printed houses’ prices are 20 – 40% cheaper than traditional buildings, giving homeowners a more cost-effective alternative.
Less Construction Time
When it comes to house production, 3D printing has shown outstanding performance, especially with time consumption.
While traditional construction would take months or even years to complete, a printing device can do the same job in hours or days, depending on the project size.
3D printed houses reduce the carbon footprint connected to building homes by limiting waste and cutting down material transport to construction sites. Similarly, these printers also use recycled plastic even though the concrete remains the primary raw material.
However, despite the benefits of additive manufacturing, 3D printing cannot utilize wood on a construction scale, unlike traditional construction.
Wood is one of the least possible environmentally damaging building materials, and its absence in this technology questions the level of sustainability.
What Are the Disadvantages of 3D Printed Houses?
While 3D printing in the real estate industry has many advantages, the technology is still relatively new. Therefore, many challenges associated with 3D printed houses exist, including:
- Limited raw materials
- Part structure
- Restricted building size
- Negative impact on workforce
- Design inaccuracies
- Unregulated construction
Limited Raw Materials
The raw materials used in construction 3D printing are different from those used in traditional construction.
Therefore, it’s usually challenging to acquire specific needs because they’re limited in supply. Also, other printers need different materials.
Restricted Building Size
The size of a 3D printed house is limited to the printer used. These printers come in various sizes, and the ones that can accommodate larger designs are usually the most expensive.
Negative Impact on Manpower
Construction workers are considered irrelevant in the 3D construction industry due to the automated process.
Operations in such a field require special skills that these manual laborers lack, thus, threatening their livelihoods.
The surface texture of these 3D printed houses is generally too rough compared to concrete walls from traditional construction buildings. Therefore, inaccuracies may exist in the design.
Unlike layering concrete blocks, many properties and conditions need to be satisfied in each layer regarding construction 3D printing.
How Long Do 3D Printed Houses Last?
The durability of 3D printed houses entirely depends on the type of raw materials used for building.
For example, most concrete buildings would last between 100 and 300 years. Similarly, a 3D printed house made of a concrete mixture should last just as long provided it’s maintained properly.
You can compare 3D printed concrete to traditional concrete. However, it contains fiber, super-plasticizers, and other ingredients that ensure the material is suitable for layer adhesion.
How Much Does a 3D Printer for Houses Cost?
Construction 3D printers can range between $150K and $1M. The price of a concrete printer typically depends on the design size you’d like.
Is a 3D Printed House Cheaper Than a Regular One?
Yes, 3D printed houses have proven to be cheaper than regular ones. You might get a 3D printed house that’s 20 to 40 % cheaper than its traditional alternative of the same size.
However, the cost calculations between conventional construction methods and 3D printing are different.
3D printing is considered both a construction and industrial product, and, therefore, the cost elements and calculation methods are unique to traditional construction.
Future Outlook of 3D Printed Houses. Is 3D Printing Houses the Future?
The future of 3D-printed houses is anything but certain, but it’s a question worth asking. Many people believe that 3D printing can revolutionize the construction industry soon.
Despite the many claims and praise from 3D printing companies, there’s currently a lack of enough evidence to prove the safety of these houses for permanent residency.
Until we erect strict building codes to guide the development of these structures, they can only be considered a cheaper and more eco-friendly alternative to concrete buildings.
However, other major construction 3D printing advances are visible today. For example, the European Space Agency is getting closer to printing a Moon Base on the planet’s largest satellite.
Common Materials Used in Construction 3D Printing
Construction 3D printing uses specific mixtures of certain raw materials to develop the final product.
The most popular material is concrete. However, 3D printing implements additive technology to develop a reinforced concrete mixture that works just like the traditional one.
On the other hand, popular 3D construction companies like Mighty Buildings have developed their version of synthetic stone for the printing process.
Other common 3D construction materials include:
- Synthetic plastic
- Recycled plastic
- Castable clay
Can You 3D Print a Car?
3D printing’s additive manufacturing has significantly impacted the automotive industry. The technology was only used to create car prototypes during its early entry stages in the industry.
However, 3D printing cars is currently an ongoing activity for various companies, especially those dealing in electric vehicles.
The future of construction 3D printing looks bright. However, there’s still a substantial distance to go in convincing the world that 3D-printed houses are the solution to all housing problems.
While the technology keeps making various breakthroughs, a lot needs attention to perfect the concept of permanent 3D printed residency.
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