Why Print a House? | God's World News
Why Print a House?
Take Apart SMART!
Posted: July 01, 2024
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    You can’t live in this house model. But some 3-D printers really can print entire houses. (Getty Images)
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    Habib Dagher speaks at the unveiling of the world’s largest 3-D printer. (AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
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    For Dagher and his team, style matters too. (AP/Kevin Bennett)
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    The 3-D printed house can be put together quickly. (AP/Kevin Bennett)
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    This 3-D printer is creating a vase. It puts down one layer at a time. (AP/Jens Meyer)
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Why 3-D print houses? What’s wrong with good ol’ brick and mortar?

In the United States, many people can’t find affordable housing. There aren’t enough available houses. Meanwhile, house prices have climbed. So have construction costs. Maine will need another 80,000 homes over the next six years. But there’s also a shortage of workers to build homes. Where will all these new homes come from?

That’s the problem researchers at UMaine aim to solve.

The new printer can build homes quickly and cheaply. It doesn’t even require a crew of construction workers. The process might also produce less pollution than traditional building.

But it’s not all about affordability. For Habib Dagher, director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures & Composite Center, style matters too. “We wanted to build a house [about which] people would say, ‘Wow, I really want to live there,’” he says.

Mr. Dagher and his team think there will be even bigger printers in the future. “We’re learning from this to design the next one,” says Mr. Dagher.

How Does 3-D Printing Work?

Can a printer really make a house? It seems hard to believe!

3-D printers work like this:

People use computers to make designs for three-dimensional objects. Computers turn those ideas into blueprints. Those are formal plans, with sizes and lengths precisely set. Then the layering begins.

The printer lays down a layer. Then it adds another, and another. Because of the way it adds layers upon layers, 3-D printing is also called additive manufacturing, or AM. The 3-D printer prints thousands of thin layers of materials, sticking them together as it goes. This kind of printer uses material accurately and with very little waste.

What would you 3-D print if you could? People have used 3-D printers to make everything from car parts to chocolate to toys.