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See the huge 3D-printer that built the walls of a 400-square-foot concrete tiny home in 22 hours

·4 min read
People standing next to the 3D printed tiny home with a ladder, tools.
3DCP Group
  • In May, Danish startup 3DCP Group unveiled its first build in Denmark: a 3D-printed tiny home.

  • The concrete home was built in five weeks but COBOD's BOD2 system was only actively printing for 22 hours.

  • See COBOD's printer in action as it builds a tiny home that has since attracted global visitors.

Several 3D printing construction-tech startups are now quietly dominating the antiquated home construction space.

Workers in hard hats pointing to a short 3D printed wall.
3DCP Group

And the latest addition to this tech-forward scene has already made an international splash: Danish startup 3DCP Group's first build, a concrete tiny home with walls that were printed in 22 hours.

The 3D printed home among trees and a blue sky.
3DCP Group

Source: Insider

Printable homes may sound like a futuristic and unattainable concept, but proponents are already making bold promises about tech's ability to slash construction time and costs.

Construction workers moving a 3D printer as other stand around.
3DCP Group

Enthusiasts view printing systems as a potential answer to our ongoing housing shortage and affordability crisis.

Groups of people under a 3D printer
3DCP Group

Source: Insider

Home construction no longer has to be a year-long project.

A 3D printer above the printed walls of the home. Two people are standing nearby.
3DCP Group

Now, homes can be built in a fraction of the time while using fewer building materials with reduced labor needs.

The walls of a 3D printed home as its being built.
3DCP Group

And within the next 10 years, Mikkel Brich, the cofounder and CEO of 3DCP Group, believes 3D printers could cut the price of homes by 50%.

A person standing next to a 3D printed wall.
3DCP Group

With all these benefits, it's no surprise the proliferation of 3D printing construction tech is already happening: Zack Mannheimer, the CEO of 3D printing construction company Alquist, believes more houses will be 3D printed than built conventionally by 2027.

People standing near the COBOD 3D printer.
3DCP Group

Source: Insider

There are already a handful of 3D-printed buildings around the world that serve as a testament to how quickly and successfully printers can create homes.

3DCP Group's 3D printed tiny home.
3DCP Group

In March, Texas startup Icon printed the walls of its 2,000-square-foot luxury home in Austin, Texas in eight days despite hardware and weather issues.

Icon's over 2,000-square-foot House Zero in Austin. The exterior of the home is made of layered printed concrete that hold up the wooden roof. The shaded area is the car park.
Brittany Chang/Insider

Source: Insider

Shortly after, nonprofit Thinking Huts used COBOD's popular BOD2 printer to create the walls of a Madagascar school in 18 hours.

Thinking Huts' 3D printed school building with flowers in the foreground.
BOTO Friddet

Source: Insider

On the heels of these two major projects, 3DCP Group used the same BOD2 printing system to build its first project and "proof of concept": a 398-square-foot tiny home in Denmark.

Inside 3DCP Group's 3D printed tiny home with a living room lined with a couch, art, large windows.
3DCP Group

Source: Insider

On paper, a tiny home might not seem as impressive as a luxury home or school building.

Inside 3DCP Group's 3D printed tiny home with a living room, windows.
3DCP Group

But according to Brich, the petite home has many firsts.

A 3D printed home as its being built.
3DCP Group

It's topped with the world's first 3D-printed roof …

The inside of the 3D printed home under construction.
3DCP Group

… and is the first project to be printed using pure concrete instead of a mix, he noted.

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a home. People are standing near the construction site.
3DCP Group

To create the tiny home, 3DCP Group borrowed COBOD's 3D printer and employees, limiting the startup's design and build time to just a little over a month.

A person in a hard hat next to a 3D printer
3DCP Group

Five weeks is an unusually constrained amount of time to create a home from scratch.

People standing near a tiny home as the 3D printer builds its walls.
3DCP Group

So to meet this rushed deadline, the team had to work 18-hour days.

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a tiny home at night. There's snacks and beverages in the foreground and somebody standing above the alls in the background.
3DCP Group

The installation of the COBOD printer on the property took eight hours, Brich told Insider in an email.

A crane as it sets up the COBOD printer at the construction site.
3DCP Group

And half of that time was spent precisely placing the printer's foundation — four concrete blocks — into place.

People standing near a concrete structure by a crane
3DCP Group

But after the system was installed, the printer was able to produce the concrete walls of the tiny home in 22 hours.

A 3D printed wall.
3DCP Group

And according to Brich, this time could've been reduced to 10 hours if the startup didn't have to follow Denmark's construction regulations …

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a tiny home.
3DCP Group

… a testament to the efficiency of 3D printers.

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a tiny home. Someone is in the home doing construction.
3DCP Group

Think of the printing system as a piping bag with a nozzle that can excrete concrete according to the coordinates of the construction plan.

A person standing near the COBOD 3D printer as it continues printing the walls.
3DCP Group

By using a precise automated system, the walls can be built on demand.

People looking at and holding a laptop near a 3D printer
3DCP Group

And because the 3D printing software offers some flexibility, the team was able to redesign parts of the tiny home mid-print to correct any mistakes or design changes.

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a tiny home.
3DCP Group

After the five-week dash and a series of tests, the completed home opened to the public in March.

A person standing near 3D printed walls with a COBOD printer looming above.
3DCP Group

And much to Brich's surprise, it drew in international crowds from countries like the US, Singapore, Australia, and Guatemala.

The 3D printed home in the snow.
3DCP Group

"We are tapping into the fascination with the future," Brich said. "It's almost science fiction.

A 3D printer printing the concrete tiny home.
3DCP Group

And it's easy to see why the public has been so fascinated with a little home that "went above all expectations," Brich said.

People standing next to the 3D printed tiny home with a ladder, tools.
3DCP Group

The build may be small, but it serves as a physical representation of the next generation of homebuilding.

A 3D printer as it prints the walls of a tiny home. Someone is standing in front of the printer and structure,
3DCP Group

And it's not every day people get to see a home with curved piped walls, a unique trademark of 3D printed homes.

A close up of the 3D printed walls.
3DCP Group

"It doesn't look that impressive when you drive past it, but actually it is quite a huge leap for the construction industry and the future of construction," Brich said.

A 3D printed structure.
3DCP Group

Read the original article on Business Insider