3D Printing

Portable 3D printer builds a tiny house for a tiny price

Portable 3D printer builds a t...
The total cost for the project came in at just US$10,134, not including furniture or appliances
The total cost for the project came in at just US$10,134, not including furniture or appliances
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Inside the 3D-printed house
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Inside the 3D-printed house
Apis Cor's 3D printer is a mobile unit and can be delivered to a site on the back of a truck
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Apis Cor's 3D printer is a mobile unit and can be delivered to a site on the back of a truck
The printing process itself is similar to the other 3D-printed architecture we've reported on and involves extruding cement in layers
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The printing process itself is similar to the other 3D-printed architecture we've reported on and involves extruding cement in layers
Once the project was complete, they got the printer out of the house with a crane before putting the roof in place
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Once the project was complete, they got the printer out of the house with a crane before putting the roof in place
The home's roof was added later by humans
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The home's roof was added later by humans
Finishing the 3D-printed house
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Finishing the 3D-printed house
Painting the 3D-printed house
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Painting the 3D-printed house
Painting the 3D-printed house
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Painting the 3D-printed house
The windows were added later
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The windows were added later
The total cost for the project came in at just US$10,134, not including furniture or appliances
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The total cost for the project came in at just US$10,134, not including furniture or appliances
Inside, the home is small and basic but perfectly livable 
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Inside, the home is small and basic but perfectly livable 
Inside the 3D-printed house
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Inside the 3D-printed house
The total cost of the project came to $10,134
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The total cost of the project came to $10,134
Top-down view of the 3D-printed house
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Top-down view of the 3D-printed house

Though 3D-printed architecture is still in its relative infancy, we're already at the point that printing a basic house is feasible. 3D-printing firm Apis Cor, in collaboration with development firm PIK, recently showed off the portable 3D printer it has developed by using it to build a basic structure of a 38-sq-m (409-sq-ft) home.

The prototype home was built in Russia starting last December (the weather was so cold they had to erect a tent to keep the cement mixture from freezing) and was just recently finished. Its roughly circular shape was chosen to highlight the tech's versatility, and though modest inside, it looks like a usable small home for one or two people.

The actual printing process took 24 hours and is very similar to the other 3D-printed architecture projects we've reported on. Put simply, the 3D printer, which looks like a small crane, extrudes cement out of a nozzle in layer after layer to create a structure.

The machine didn't do all the work, though. The roof, insulation, windows, and other components were all added later by humans. The total cost for the project came in at just US$10,134, not including furniture or appliances.

Inside, the home is small and basic but perfectly livable 
Inside, the home is small and basic but perfectly livable 

We've already reported on a 3D-printed office, a castle, and even a Chinese firm that managed to print 10 houses in a day, but each of those projects required large 3D-printers, multiple units working together, or were printed in a factory in several individual pieces before being transported to the building site.

However, Apis Cor's project was built on-site with just one portable printer. Measuring a maximum height of 3.1 m (10 ft) and a maximum length of 5 m (16.4 ft), the printer weighs 2 tons (1,814 kg) and can be transported to a building site on the back of a truck like any other piece of heavy machinery. The firm offers its 3D-printer for sale or rent, though we've no word on how much it costs.

While impressive, the march of progress in 3D-printed architecture raises concerns for construction workers. We can't see any 3D printer replacing a skilled craftsman, but they probably will be used in place of unskilled workers for smaller jobs. Great news if you're the owner of a firm looking to save time and money, but if you're a laborer ... not so much.

Check out the video to see some more information on the project.

Source: Apis Cor

Apis Cor: first residential house has been printed!

15 comments
sk8dad
That is totally impressive. The ability to print larger houses, even with a small capacity printer is only a matter of modular design. I wonder how the finished building stands up to seismic regulations though?
Evgeny
You can not "print" by concrete during the winter time, in Russia particularly. When warm comes you'll get a ruins. - See pic.4 - someone's put an armature inside. - Russia is a cold contry. One have to get very good thermal insulation. You can't "print" it from concrete.
Derek Howe
I agree, impressive. But how do they handle electrical, plumbing, & HVAC?
Leonard Foster Jr
So tiny home builders charging 60-80plus k get a clue.
Alex Angel
I think something was wrong with the figures quoted in the video - they said their 3d printing is cheaper than regular construction but their figure was $275 per square metre vs the $225 they listed for a house made by conventional construction?
Kevin Ritchey
Still need those same skilled craftsman to operate the printers correctly. They are just exchanging one tool for another. Houses don't build themselves.
ljaques
This is a GREAT use of the 3D printing tech. (I'd hate to have to clear a jam in the concrete pump feed, though.) I don't like to pour crete in temps below 40F, but I saw that they built tents around the construction to warm it up, so I can see how they can make the claim of pouring in -35 temps. The printing process likely adds heat, too. Questions about printing electrical channels in the walls came up, but then heard them mention dropped ceilings, so that's likely the place for the plumbing and heating. It must be fun to hang pictures, huh? I absolutely LOVE the price, and can't see how _any_ of the Tiny Home builders get the prices they're charging for those things. Builders get $10k for a plain 2-car garage around here. Kudos, Apis Cor! Put Tiny Home builders on the spot for their greed.
Bruce H. Anderson
This looks like the first 3-D house application that makes sense. I think there are ways to handle plumbing, electrical, and HVAC with proper wall and ceiling design. Proper reinforcement can handle the seismic. It won't be as easy to remodel/repair as a wood frame home, but that may be an acceptable tradeoff. I see lots of potential here.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
"Was built in Russia." That pretty much explains the low cost. In most places in the United States, you would need at least 1200 sq. ft. You would need to get it signed off by an engineer. You would have to satisfy the home owners association or just neighborhood rabble rousers. You would have to find a buildable lot for this house. It is very similar to permanently installing a mobile home. On the plus side, you will end up with a good custom built house with some savings and much trouble.
Neil Farbstein
Tiny houses are a form of torture and degradation- putting people in houses so cramped they are barely habitable.