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The Race is On

3D Printing in Construction – How Long Does it Take to Print a House?

Picture of Stephan Carpenter
by Stephan Carpenter
Apr 3, 2019

Many companies have turned their attention to 3D printing construction. But the question remains, how long does it take to print a house? Find out!

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction The Boom in 3D Housing

Europe's first 3D printed building, by 3DPrinthuset (in Denmark).
Europe's first 3D printed building by 3DPrinthuset (Denmark). Source: 3Dprinthuset.dk/europes-first-3d-printed-building/, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66325031

The race to develop faster methods for 21st-century housing is at full steam. There are already many startups delving into the issues that revolve around 3D printing construction. The push to build 3D printed houses faster has become a worldwide endeavor. Startup companies in the US, China, and Europe are all gaining ground as they learn from each other.

But the question remains, how fast are these “faster” methods? Here, we take a look at several projects around the globe to discover just how fast a 3D printer can print a house.

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Example #1: University of Nantes Emergency Shelter

The 30-minute emergency shelter.
The 30-minute emergency shelter. Source: University of Nantes

Topping our list is a 3D printed emergency shelter that has been built in as little as 30 minutes. Printed using a special polymer, these shelters are made to last several months but are not yet a long-term solution. In terms of sheer speed of build, this shelter can provide emergency shelter in disaster zones worldwide in times unheard of using traditional methods of construction.

Builders: Research Institute of Communications and Cybernetics of Nantes

Location: Nantes, France

Time: As little as 30 minutes

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Example #2: Icon and New Story's Fully-Permitted House

The first fully-permitted 3D printed house in the US.
The first fully-permitted 3D printed house in the US. Source: Icon

Boasting the first fully-permitted 3D printed house in the US, Icon in partnership with New Story has managed to break the 24 hours barrier. The production version of the printer will have the ability to print a single-story, 600-800 square foot home in under 24 hours for less than $4,000. The first version stands in Texas and is currently being used for office space.

Builders: Icon 3D

Location: Austin, Texas, USA

Time: 24 hours

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Example #3: Winsun's Shenzhen Village

Winsun's 3D printed office building.
Winsun's 3D printed office building. Source: Winsun3D

In 2014, Chinese company Winsun boasted building ten 3D printed houses in 24 hours. The buildings were primitive by today’s 3D house printing standards, but the achievement drew attention to the reality of 3D printing homes. Currently, the structures are being rented out as office spaces.

Builders: Winsun

Location: Shenzhen, China

Time: Ten houses in a 24-hour period

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Example #4: Wasp's 3D Printed Gaia

WASP's earth 3D printed house,
WASP's earth 3D printed house, "The Gaia". Source: WASP

In Italy, WASP printed their 3D house dubbed “the Gaia” on-site in under ten days. This included the creation of the substrate they used to print with, which consisted of all local materials. Several village-style developments are currently underway, as this technology continues to grow.

Builders: WASP

Location(s): Massa Lombarda RA, Italy

Time: Under 10 days

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Example #5: Winsun's Multi-Story Villa

The impressively-large 3D printed Winsun Villa.
The impressively-large 3D printed Winsun Villa. Source: WinSun3D

Again we find Chinese company Winsun at the forefront of the 3D printing construction race. In only 45 days, they printed an entire villa, complete with external decorations. This brings the 3D printed house out of the small-scale housing arena and into the circle of large-scale homes. The company signed a contract with the Saudi Arabian government to deliver 10 of their mammoth printers in the next two years to begin large-scale construction.

Builders: Winsun

Location: Suzhou Industrial Park, Jiangsu Province, China

Time: 45 days

Time Taken for 3D Printing Construction Summary

ICON's 3D printed home bedroom.
ICON's 3D printed home bedroom. Source: ICON

Now that we’ve seen a few examples, we can start to have an idea about how long it takes to 3D print a house. A basic shelter can be 3D printed in as little as 30 minutes. If you want to talk about something more suitable for long-term living, a 3D printed house can be finished in as little as 24 hours.

Naturally, more complex builds take a little more time. Using alternative, native materials, which require more processing, a new home can be printed in around 10 days. For the ultimate in 3D printed houses, even something as large-scale as a multi-room two-story villa can be finished in around 45 days. Compared to traditional building techniques, that’s still extremely impressive.

Welcome to the future of 3D printing construction.

Feature image source: Apis Cor

License: The text of "3D Printing in Construction – How Long Does it Take to Print a House?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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