In contrast to the hard lines and corners of traditionally built homes, slopes and curves define the look of 3D-printed projects. But 3D printing can do more than give home layouts a makeover: It can substantially cut material and labor costs, creating an opportunity to build more affordable housing. And at a time when inventory is at historic lows, finding innovative ways to build quickly and efficiently is more relevant than ever. Perfecting 3D-printed housing projects—which currently can only be one-story, detatched houses—will have game-changing implications for demographics that are often locked out of homeownership in the current system such as low-income families, the elderly, and the homeless.
Tim Shea is counting the days until he can move into a new 3-D-printed house. Shea, 69, will be the first to live in one of six such rentals created by what some in the housing industry call a futuristic approach that could revolutionize home construction.
Shea is among a growing number of seniors in America who have struggled to keep affordable housing. He has, at times, been homeless. He has arthritis and manages to get around with the aid of a walker. He said he looks forward to giving up the steep ramp he’s had to negotiate when entering or exiting the RV he’s called home.
“I’m over the top about it,” said Shea, a native of Stratford, Conn., who made his way to Austin in 1993. “They had an interview process where a bunch of people applied. Then I found out it was a 3-D-printed home, and I was gung-ho.”