Meet the first 3D-printed house with bio-based materials

Home "bioprinted" from the University of Maine.

The «bioprinted» house at the University of Maine.

Photo: University of Maine / Courtesy

Although we have already seen hundreds of 3D printed houses in the past, and even many that can be cost competitive with conventional houses, now a house was printed with bio-based materials.

Researchers from the University of Maine unveiled the construction of the house with a 3D printing technique that had not been done before, because they did not use conventional materials such as concrete.

The entire structure was printed in four modules and assembled on site in a few hours.. Electricity was installed just two hours after erection, and the house was virtually usable within a day of being moved to the site.

3D printed house with bio-based materials

The house has floors, walls and a 3D printed ceiling consisting of wood fibers and bioresins. The entire house is 600 square feet and is insulated with wood.

Construction process almost completely eliminated construction waste And unlike concrete houses (both conventional and 3D-printed houses), this one is completely recyclable.

The official presentation of the bioprinted house was made with much fanfare, with the presence of university and government officials on site.

“Our state is facing the perfect storm of a housing crisis and labor shortage, but the University of Maine is stepping up once again to show that we can tackle these serious challenges with characteristic Maine ingenuity,” said the Governor Janet Mills.

“With its innovative BioHome3Dthe UMaine Center for Advanced Structures and Composites is thinking creatively about how we can address our housing shortage, strengthen our forest products industry, and give people a safe place to live so they can contribute to our economy.”

In fact, The advent of 3D printed houses couldn’t come at a better time.. With the pandemic causing massive disruption to supply chains, building materials have risen in price over the past two years.

There is also a shortage of workers and we are heading towards a possible global recession, so having access to affordable and easy-to-build housing has never been more important.

However, it is not yet clear how affordable this house would be. It’s still a prototype, and researchers focused on creating it using recycled wood fiber raw material locally sourced. This makes it more resilient to supply chain disruptions and worker shortages.

“There are many technologies being developed to 3D print homes, but unlike BioHome3D, most are printed with concrete. However, only concrete walls are printed on a conventionally cast concrete base. Traditional timber framing or timber trusses are used to complete the roof,” said Dagher, ASCC Executive Director.

“Unlike existing technologies, the entire BioHome was 3D printed, including the floors, walls and ceiling. The biomaterials used are 100% recyclable, so our great-grandchildren can fully recycle BioHome3D”.

Ultimately though, as promising as this technology is, it will come down to cost and durability. Having a 3D printed house is great, but nobody wants to pay more for a house and/or face structural problems in the future. But If 3D printing can make durable, cheap, bio-based houses, it could be a huge game changer.

Also read:· They sell for $ 300,000 luxurious house made in 3D printing · This is how 3D printers help fight the coronavirus · Forget cheap labor in Mexico: cars could now be manufactured by printers