How do you build a 2 bedroom, 800 square-foot, energy efficient house that can withstand severe storms and that costs only $4,000? That’s a tough one, oh, and you only have 24 hours to do it! Say what? That’s impossible! Well, my friend, welcome to the 21st century: the age of the 3D printer.
Just imagine: a home in a day, a neighborhood in a week, a community in a month, and entire city in a year! These homes may not look like much, but with this technology, a fresh design in every lot is just a print-file away. For the people of El Salvador, who live on less than $2 a day and where a strong gust of wind can leave you homeless, this technology is literally a life saver. But these homes could be used by everyone, and for $100,000 per printer and $4,000 per home, a rich Silicon Valley mogul could sell his extra two Tesla Roadsters and take a bite out of the homeless problems of his area that he likes to complain about over $25 lattes.
Additive manufacturing, or 3D-printing, has made great in-roads over the last decade, and this isn’t the first 3D-printed house that has made the rounds on-line, but the more of these projects we see, the closer the technology comes to becoming mainstream. Additive manufacturing allows you to get into places that are difficult to reach with large quantities of bricks and lumber and allows you to diversify your building materials to include what is available on-site. A clever enough design might even be able to build homes inside caves or into the side of a cliff
Imagine even having a portable system that you could carry into the wilderness and print a temporary-yet-comfortable shelter out of mud. You pack it in, set it up, mix up some mud and make a little mud-igloo that will eventually erode and wash away after you are long-gone.