In January 2018 reports from the Abbé Pierre foundation unmistakingly revealed that 9,5 Million people were poorly housed in France. From that number, 143,000 are homeless. A solution is beginning to take shape. Neither costly nor time-consuming, the 3D printing of homes is starting to slowly (but surely) prove its worth.

A new story

24 hours. Wired tells us that this is how long it takes to 3D print a 60 m² house. This achievement belongs to ICON, the American start-up who for the occasion partnered themselves with New Story, an NGO invested in the housing crisis. The miracle house owes its success to the Vulcan 3D printer, and is able to house a family in less than a day. Here is how it works: insert a blueprint with the shape of the walls and how to build them into the machine, and it does the rest. After this, all that needs to be installed are the windows, roofs, cabling and plumbing. What is more, the cost is relatively low. For now, the bill is as low as 10,000 dollars. This is still too high for ICON, who wish to bring the costs down to 4000 dollars for 6 hours of manual construction.

Made in Russia

If you need more proof of the emergence of this technology, ICON’s performance is not unique. In 2017, Apis Cor, the 3D printer/crane had already completed the building of a house in 24 hours, in Russia. While this house is 38 m², it was nonetheless built in extreme temperatures. The cost of building this home was also 10,000 dollars, which is just a bit over 8,000 euros. In order to build the house, Apis Core only used 8kW of energy. This is equivalent to the consumption of five boilers working simultaneously.

The Nantais exploit

3D printed homes are great, but 3D printed furniture is even better. With the Yhnova project, the metropole and university of Nantes show us that they know a thing or two on how to print furniture. In September 2017 they built a 95 m² social house split into five rooms, all in only 33 hours. The secret there also lies with the use of a giant 3D printer. Following this, the university filed a patent for the Batiprint technology. A sort of giant articulated arm is guided by laser sensor to print the form defined by the blueprint. The cost of the building was estimated to be around 195,000 euros. It seems that we hold a powerful weapon in our fight against the housing crisis.

Pod Skyscraper, the ultimate 3D printed building

What if we dreamed a little? Presented on evolo, the Pod Skyscraper is a self-printing skyscraper. In truth, this building is empty. Just like in the game Connect 4, it is possible to fill in this building, bit by bit, with 3D printed pods/apartments so that it will ultimately look like a finished building. This would allow residents to move house without moving house, that is, to bring your home with you. The location can also act like a vending machine of sorts, and sells ready printed buildings. This would be facilitated by a massive 3D printer located on top of the skyscraper, able to print new pods on demand. This is an exciting project, but it remains a dream as of now.