People in 3D-printed houses | Financial Times

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“Twenty years from now, you’ll be able to use your mobile phone app to buy land and print your own home,” says Andrew Logan. “That is the future.”

Logan Architecture uses robots to build walls in additional layers and test 3D-printed homes instead of traditional construction methods. Two of Logan’s designs were realized this year in his hometown of Austin, Texas. One was the development of four two-story homes east of the city, completed in September.

Their lower floors were printed on-site by nozzles suspended from a mobile ceiling gantry. Instructed by the software, the machine piped parallel thin beads of cement in layers, like toothpaste on a brush. Next, a larger wooden two-story building was built on top of the printed wall.

Logan says 3D printing You are free to design curved walls and corners without worrying about the high-paying merchants required by traditional methods. It makes it easier to accept the human circulation. According to Logan, this technique has its limits. Walls can be up to 8 feet 5 inches high, and drilling holes to hang photos can be tedious and time consuming. He installed picture rails on every wall.

With features such as an arched master bedroom and cedar cladding in East 17th Avenue homes, developer 3Strands is about 25% above Realtor.com’s median Austin, per square foot. I was able to sell it for over $ 400.

3D printed home by Logan Architecture developed on East 17th Street in Austin, Texas © Icon

3D-printed home under development on East 17th Street in Austin, Texas

Throughout the town, Logan’s other 3D designs show how the ability to build homes quickly and cheaply has the potential for public housing. Six one-bedroom 400-square-foot homes for the charity MobileLoaves and Fishes are printed three at a time in a few days and form part of a project to rebuild Austin’s homeless population.

The cost advantage of printing over construction methods that rely on the human workforce may facilitate the acceptance of technology for medium-sized home construction. Developer SQ4D printed and sold a three-bedroom ranch-style house in the town of Riverhead on Long Island this summer. It cost $ 20,000, but using the traditional method it cost $ 150,000. “We listed it for $ 299,999,” says Kirk Andersen, SQ4D’s Operations Director. “There are $ 550,000 homes in the area, which is almost 50 percent less.”

Logan also designed these dwellings for homeless people in Austin.

Logan also designed these dwellings for homeless people in Austin © Regan Morton, Icon

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SQ4D was founded five years ago by Andersen and three construction engineers to test the potential of laminated building of residential real estate. “We literally took a small 3D plastic printer and scaled it up … Pushing in the concrete,” This is the real thing. We can actually do this! “”

Two test structures, 2017 and 2018, were used to improve the printer and the mixture of sand and Portland cement it pipes. “We learned a lot about horses,” says Andersen. “We started with 1 inch and a quarter [nozzle] However, it looks like a clogged artery and gets smaller and smaller. Weather conditions are also a consideration. On hot days, the cement dries too quickly and can crack. “We need to rehydrate,” he says. “There is a mist system.”

The SQ4D uses a custom-made 32-foot wide x 12-foot high gantry printer that can be assembled in the field in 6 hours. The exterior and interior walls of the riverhead house were printed for 48 hours, with only three workers on site monitoring the machine and cutting wet cement openings for windows. Andersen estimates that a traditional build of the same structure will take 10 weeks.

Andersen states that robots are not only fast and cheap, but also have the potential to improve the health and safety of construction. The industry is notable for accident rates. The environmental impact of print shops is still controversial. Studies suggest that CO2 emissions from cement production are high and carbon dioxide emissions from 3D printed structures are low, but they use injected concrete walls as comparators rather than bricks or wood. did. According to Andersen, SQ4D is even considering using recycled crushed concrete in mortar to pump the CO2 produced during mixing and print it on concrete for storage.

The only clue to the construction of a house on Long Island is the striped pattern of pipes on the outer wall. “People call it the corduroy wall,” says Andersen. “These lines are a story of how your home was built.” But Andersen’s interest is not in its design possibilities, but primarily in the speed and economy of new technologies.

The construction of this 3D-printed house on Long Island by developer SQ4D cost $ 20,000, but using the traditional method, it cost $ 150,000.

The construction of this 3D-printed house on Long Island by developer SQ4D cost $ 20,000, but using the traditional method, it cost $ 150,000.

Elise Lutz and Harry Deckers live in structures that realize more sculptural possibilities. In August, they became the first tenant in Europe of a fully 3D printed home. Their 1,000-square-foot rock-shaped bungalow is one of five planned properties in the Meerhoven district of Eindhoven, the Netherlands, collectively known as Project Milestone. This scheme is a joint venture between city authorities, Eindhoven University of Technology, Besteda, a real estate investor focused on medium-sized rental housing, and Saint-Gobain Weber Beamix, a concrete manufacturer that developed a 3D printing system. .. The one-story structure was printed into 24 sections by a robotic arm at the Weber Beamix factory, a mile away, and assembled into a wooded milestone plot.

Retired owners of the jewelry store, Lutz and Dekkers, lived in Amsterdam after seeing Lutz seeking an application to become a trial tenant. It appealed to the couple’s adventurous spirit, she says. “I like living in a special space, which was a neighborhood I didn’t know about.”

Inside the project milestone 3D printed house in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Here, Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers (pictured at the top of this story) are tenants.

Inside the project milestone 3D printed house in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Here, Elize Lutz and Harrie Dekkers (pictured at the top of this story) are tenants © Bart van Overbeeke

Three months later, they are enthusiastic ambassadors for the layout and curves of the house’s open plans. “It’s all a little round, everything is organic. It’s playful,” says Lutz. “You won’t get bored,” Dekkers adds. Like all 3D printed buildings, the walls are hollow. According to Lutz, the 7-inch thickness “feels like an old castle. It feels very safe.” Otherwise, they say it makes little difference to living in traditional property.

Gian Sterken, 3D Sales Project Manager at WeberBeamix, says the couple’s feedback is due to be completed next year, signaling the final design of a second three-story house in the shape of an obelisk. Others are also moving forward. Icon, the company that printed the designs for Logan Architecture, announced a project to print 100 homes in Austin next year. SQ4D is building a new printer and discussing it with local governments across the United States.

Building a site that Andersen only describes as “a man who is a babysitter on a machine” may not yet be the norm. However, those corduroy walls can quickly become a common sight.

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