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Houses Built by 3D Printers for $5,000 Each

Written by Gary North on May 13, 2014

A Chinese firm can build ten houses a day for under $5,000 each. The construction is based on cement and used materials. You can see them here.

This is a revolution. Give this another decade — maybe less.

This will hit the construction industry like a ton of 3D-made bricks.

Want a weekend getaway home on a lake? Buy one of these.

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36 thoughts on “Houses Built by 3D Printers for $5,000 Each

  1. A Real Architect says:

    The $5k buys you a shell of a house, but far, far less than what you need for a functional home. You need plumbing, you need heating/cooling, you need electricity, you need waterproofing, you need doors, windows, appliances, hardware, finishes, and unless you like the cinder block look, you need a foundation. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice start, but you can't live in one of those as-is.

  2. BraveNative says:

    I sell much nicer cabin kits starting at $5,000 that includes roofing , windows ,door , hardware , etc. http://www.shellforestproducts.com

  3. I am sure that the construction industry lobbies will try to find every way in the world to contain the growth of these 3D built structures. And, of course, economists and the government insists on pinning the economic growth to construction. In the end, it will make for more jobs but will require more technical expertise in the construction workplace. Try as they will, this technology will, in the end, grow and prosper. Crappy built homes are just one of the justifications for using this modern technology.

  4. This is a neat way to make preformed concrete pieces, but does not give you a house, just some wall pieces. Heavy ones at that.

  5. K. Linc says:

    For the naysayers, bear in mind that 3D printing is in its infancy, like any new technology, its results are manifesting themselves in the simplest forms, complexity and improved function will follow these simple beginnings.

  6. Phillip the Bruce says:

    I very much doubt that the US is the target market for these "houses." It may not even be China, perhaps the 3rd World where any shelter is better than the cobbled together shanties made of scraps.

  7. CharlieFromMass says:

    Very neat. The answer for everyone/everything? Hardly, but a great way to use 3D printing.

    Similar to this are some other companies/groups making full-framed wooden houses out of laser-cut plywood in place of studding. The structures are showing to be as strong, or stronger, and come in at greatly-reduced cost.

    Things are changing, and in this case, for the better.

  8. Fighter says:

    Men have already had so much taken from us — now this. Construction was one of the last "dumb brute" jobs out there. And just like other instances where automation took jobs away from people too unintelligent to get jobs which required brains, this too will cause fewer men to be employable, while women once again still excel at getting office jobs and teaching jobs and all other jobs in general. Add that to how women are forgoing marriage altogether, and men really have nowhere to go.

    When (or how) will this all stop?? The irony is that these advances in automation where likely created by men, so we are screwing ourselves over here people! Accidental misandry is still misandry, and no one benefits but women and their children.

    Honestly, what are men supposed to do if we keep getting our male-dominated fields essentially handed over to robots?

  9. CharlieFromMass says:

    Very nice cabins.

  10. Do your houses crumble with moisture and time like concrete does? Are they porous like concrete? Are they a massive joke like this? (I really do like log cabins.)

  11. Develop other skills. It is a pitiful man that can do nothing but turn the same screwdriver a quarter turn 400 times a day and then complains that he isn't making enough money. Give up a few vacations. Take that money and go to a trade school or community college. Even if I had an attitude attack I wouldn't design a 3D printed house for the United States. We trash too much really nice architecture to put up parking lots now. Don't encourage this behavior! Please.

  12. nebarry says:

    New technologies tend to create as many opportunities as they eliminate, or more. It is rarely a straightforward one to one correspondence. It's way too early to gauge how this is going to impact the industry. One scenario is that it opens up lower cost housing for new markets without unduly affecting current construction. Another is that as the technique grows more sophisticated, it can be combined with current and other developing technologies to build amazing "houses of the future," something which could easily benefit the industry. But more likely it will be a combination of factors which will lead in unexpected directions. Society tends to absorb these things and people adjust. Show of hands, please: how many people want to take a time machine back to 1920 because more jobs are available? Right…

  13. That is a really poor excuse for a website. It shows almost nothing, looks as though it were put together in an hour (I could have done it better in less time than that), and gives absolutely no indication as to what most of the cabins would even look like. Not to mention that without plumbing or basic necessities, your cabin ''kits'' are no more than cumbersome tents that you can't even pack up and take with you when you're done.

    I'm not yet a fan of the 3D printer homes, but they're already in much better straights than your cabin kits. I've built better cabins when I was a teen with my Dad.

  14. Fema Camp special huts being built somewhere near you! Your Tax Dollars at Work!

  15. Right on, and while we're at it we need to outlaw freezers and refrigeration. After all, those poor ice-delivery men were all put out of work (but never mind the various A/C service men, they aren't important.)

    You've fallen for the Luddite Fallacy. New technology does not destroy jobs in the long run, it only changes the composition of jobs in the economy. New technology leads to a rise in standards of living, not a decline.

  16. All depends on what one thinks they have to have actually or is a necessity? We are all quite spoiled and then some when it comes to homes and all manner of material objects. Just saying, cause its true..

  17. ncbill12 says:

    Sure, but this would still be cheaper than a mobile home (the current 'cheap' housing here in the U.S.) & could easily be modified to be much more energy efficient.

  18. ncbill12 says:

    No kidding – I worked construction during summers & whenever else I could through high school & college because it paid relatively well for unskilled labor.

    However, seeing men in their 40s & 50s still doing unskilled work was the best incentive I ever had to do well in school & afterwards.

  19. I would not call these small unfinished units houses but the potential is there to replace building shells with printed structures and by incorporating modules to interlock they could be joined to become livable spaces.

  20. There is no rebar so will not withstand earthquake. There is no insulation but foam could be injected. They are built in a factory so have to be moved which limits size until a mobile design is made. There was a large Canadian company Polysar that built poured concrete houses in the late 70's. Then they found out most of the cost is the land and shipping is hard. As others pointed out, no wiring plumbing etc. Nevertheless in tropical countries cement or concrete is the only way to go so will be popular.

  21. That's just hateful, CeeVee. Perhaps you need a nap. I think they look nice.

  22. Most public schools in the US are made using concrete. I see concrete buildings go up al the time.

  23. I owned a concrete pumping business and I owned a 3D printing business.
    Both technologies are impressive. I commend all who attempt to combine the technology.
    But don't sell me a $5000 house. BS!
    I wonder if it is still possible in America to let the market place determine if a 3D printed home is worthwhile?
    Why would anyone announce you can buy a 3D printed home for $5000…especially from China?
    Its like saying: "Save Money, Live In Your Casket!"

  24. Well said. What about the Buggy Whip maker–where are they today?

  25. A Patriot says:

    More jobs? Like green energy? If it progress' it will destroy millions of jobs. The old "tech jobs will replace the lesser skilled jobs tech destroyed" argument has proven to be incredibly false in the last 20 years. It was the precursor of "you can keep your health insurance".

  26. A Patriot says:

    Didn't see any reinforcing rods in those pieces. A small earthquake would make a huge dust plume out of these hovels.

  27. A Patriot says:

    Get back to me when a gigantic 3D printer takes a 50 foot by 75 foot block of acrylic, plastic or nylon and creates a nice 2 story 4 bedroom home with all the holes for utilities doors windows and trim etc.

  28. Daniel from TN says:

    The key to better plywood is the adhesive (glue) between layers of laminate. Several years ago I attended a building trades show. Several types of material showing promise for future use were showcased.
    One was plywood. The manufacturer had a 15' by 20' piece of 3/4" plywood suspended on concrete blocks only at the four corners. A full-sized van was parked on the plywood. The plywood was not the least bit buckled, as if nothing was on it at all. The manufacturer stated new adhesives made the feat possible. A house built with this would need no studs.
    Another item was insulation. One company had a new type of insulation made of plastic; and could be made from some types of recycled plastic. It was rated R-52 but was only 1/4" thick. The estimated cost for insulating a new house was less than one-fourth the cost of fiberglass insulation.
    The point is, as improvements in construction materials continues, these improvements will reduce the cost of construction.

  29. Tionico says:

    You are advocating a return to steam engine power for railroads and ships? How many stokers were put out of work first by auto-feeders, then oil, which just needed a pump?

    So you're wondering what men are supposed to do when all the idiot work gets done by machines? Get smart enough to design and manufacture the machines. MEN designed and built, and have refined, this machine. Men who no longer fear they will spend fifty years totin' that bale, yankin' on that hoe, pushin' that idiot stick. Find and listen to the ballad of John Henry, how he beat that steam drill….. then it beat him.

  30. patrick looney says:

    Lincoln logs-3d printed-''born in a cabin he built with his own hands'' -''I'll buy THAT for a buck!''

  31. FRENCHIE says:

    BEING FROM THE MID-WEST, I HAVE TO WONDER HOW WELL THESE THINGS STAND UP TO A WIND STORM, OR EVEN WORSE, TORNADO'S ? CONCRETE,YEAH….I GET THAT. BUT, IF I CAN'T BUY MY GRANDKIDS A TOY MADE IN CHINA THAT LASTS A WEEK, OR MUCH ELSE FOR THAT MATTER, WHAT'S TO SAY A CHINESE MADE HOUSE IS GOING TO FARE ANY BETTER ?

  32. Have none of you people eery heard of retraining? Office workers do it perpetually through out their career. You guys are stagnating and then whining because you have not kept up with technology. That is pathetic.

  33. goldhoarder says:

    And prisons… or am I repeating the thought

  34. Men this so good!

  35. This technology is so fascinating. They are very intelligent.

  36. So many printing applications for this 3D printing technology its amazing! But I am a bit skeptical when it comes to 5000$ home 3D printed honestly.