3D printing may be the future for affordable, fire resistant homes

Phillip Palmer Image
Friday, October 14, 2022
3D printing may be the future for affordable, fire resistant homes
Looking for a new home, but can't afford one? Now you can 3D-print your next house from a laptop.

REDDING, Calif. (KABC) -- With California wildfires burning dangerously close to homes each year, there now may be a solution to provide more affordable and fire resistant housing with 3D-printing technology.

Construction has begun on California's first ever, on-site 3D-printed home by Emergent 3D.

Emergent 3D uses a massive printer with a special mixture of concrete that allows for the walls to hold their form as they are layered. The print head is controlled by a computer that communicates to the machinery where the walls should be.

"We're not printing in a factory - we're not printing components. Everything is set up on-site and printed right there on site," said Matthew Gile, the founder of Emergent 3D.

The printer is capable of building a 3,000 square foot single story home and a 6,000 square foot two story homes. It can save roughly 20% on the construction schedule that will likely improve further as 3D-printing for homes becomes more familiar.

The concrete can be the finished surface or it can be covered inside with drywall or outside with stucco. The roof remains a wood truss system, but the structure still has significantly less risk of loss to fire.

The print time for a home is about 31 hours, and instead of a full work crew, now a few tech-savvy workers control the printer.

"The 30-somethings and 20-somethings that haven't been traditionally interested in construction, as we present to them that you can print a home from your laptop, suddenly the hands are going up of, 'How do I get involved in this new tech construction field?'" Gile said.