With 3D-printed homes being built in about a month, some believe they could the solution to the housing crisis.
“What we’re seeing here is what we call the big entry printer. It's a proprietary printer we invented, we built,” said Yonah Naftaly with Mighty Buildings. “It’s the biggest of its kind in the world. Its printing capacity is roughly 40 feet deep, 15 wide, 15 tall more or less.”
This machine is printing someone’s living room wall, literally.
“The majority of the house is printed parts,” Naftaly explained.
The company Mighty Buildings is taking its “Light Stone Material" and turning it into homes using 3D printing. Eventually, the homes could be any size.
“You're not limited to the size of the building you're going to build,” he said.
Fast, printed homes is a vision chief sustainability officer Sam Ruben is bringing to life.
“We can go from a blank lot to installed in a month,” Ruben said.
It’s more than just speed. Ruben said there’s also a big sustainability factor as well.
“One of the really cool things about 3D printing is we can print exactly what we need,” he said.
“To be able to make something without waste or with a very minimum level of waste is a very compelling thing in an age of sustainability,” said Darrin Duber-Smith, sustainability expert and marketing professor at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.
He’s spent years of his life focusing on sustainability.
“There’s a cost component, there’s a quality component, and there’s a sustainability component, sort of the trifecta here,” he said.
Especially right now, homes are few and far between. Prices have gone up almost everywhere in the U.S., many referring to it as a housing crisis, fueled in part by the pandemic.
“Think about it. Building materials have been going up in price, dramatically recently,” Duber-Smith said.
“What we’re trying to do is help address the fact that we just don't have enough skilled labor to build all the housing we need,” Ruben said.
Part of what Mighty Buildings is doing is providing housing while changing up the construction industry.
“We know that’s a big bite to take and we’re gradually walking toward there,” Naftaly said.
That’s where Mighty Building is looking to fill a void with its quickly made homes, ready to shop where they need to go.
“Our mighty studio, which is our smallest unit 350 square foot studio, and again these are California prices, go for $115,000 for just the unit,” Ruben said.
Durability was another component they considered.
“We’ve done accelerated aging tests past 70 years with about 10% degradation, so similar to traditional materials, so we’re looking at a 50-100 year lifespan for our material,” he said.
As we continue to look for housing solutions across the U.S., Duber-Smith said the practicality of incorporating 3D printing technology for affordable, long-lasting housing is here.
“I do. I think it’s a really neat idea,” Duber-Smith said when asked if 3D printing homes was a scalable idea.