Print new houses with concrete! – Dakota Free Press

If South Dakoto residents old and new are struggling to find affordable homes, maybe we just need to get the students at DSU and Mines to crank up their 3D printers and build more homes. Habitat for Humanity uses concrete printers to reduce house construction time by four weeks. As Habitat and 3D print builder Alquist will attest, time is money:

Tawkiyah Jordan, senior director of housing and community strategy at Habitat for Humanity, said the organization adopted this construction method to meet the need for innovation while keeping quality housing affordable. It costs about $150,000 to build a typical wooden house. …[U]Singing concrete to build houses with a 3D printer… saves Alquist up to 15 percent on construction costs.

…Using 3D printing to build houses offers numerous benefits, including a reduction in construction time due to the efficiency of the machine. During the process, concrete is extruded by a large machine in layers that form the walls, foundation, and base of the house. While the machine is printing, it requires little supervision or on-site personnel, preventing injuries and saving on worker’s compensation costs, said Kirk Andersen, operations manager for New York-based 3D printing company SQ4D.

He said he’s completed about 40 percent of a home in just under six months with a 3D printing machine, compared to completing a project in six to 12 months using standard construction practices in the industry [Claretta Bellamy, “How 3D Printing Can Be the Solution to the Nation’s Affordable Housing Crisis,” NBC News, 2021.05.01].

3D printing not only lowers the initial cost of building a house. The house that Habitat printed in Virginia includes a 3D printer for making replacement parts like sockets and cabinet knobs.

The state of Iowa sees an opportunity to use 3D printing to meet the housing needs of the workforce:

The Iowa Economic Development Agency on Friday approved Iowa State University College of Design $1.4 million to buy a 3D printer capable of making concrete houses. His goal is to build a neighborhood of up to 34 3D-printed homes in Hamburg, a southwestern Iowa city recovering from massive flooding two years ago.

Agency director Debi Durham said the college will also develop a curriculum to train contractors in 3D printing and new state building codes to enable widespread use of the technique in Iowa [Kim Norvell, “Iowa State University Gets $1.4 Million to Buy 3D Concrete Printer for Low-Cost Building,” Des Moines Register, 2021.12.20].

Builders say concrete homes don’t rot like wood and are better able to withstand wind, flooding and fire. But if you insist on building with wood, hang in there: The University of Idaho is studying how wood waste can be used to create a greener 3D printing material.

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