In just 24 hours, a 3D printer can complete the entire shell of a tiny house, including the roof, overhangs, and ceiling. The 20-foot-high printer doing just this lives inside an Oakland, Calif. warehouse, belonging to startup Mighty Buildings. Fast Company reports that the startup can create a home 45% cheaper than a standard Cali home by automating 80% of the construction process. There are steps that cannot be simply printed, such as the windows, plumbing, and electricals. But Mighty Buildings refutes the claim that they are replacing jobs. The company says this printing process addresses the construction labor shortage, and can create more work.
The company isn’t the first to use 3D printers to build homes; an entire neighborhood of 3D-printed homes is being completed this year in Mexico. But because the new process can print more elements of a house—the homes in Mexico use 3D printing only for the walls and floor—it helps reduce the cost further. “As soon as you are able to produce not only the walls but also floor and ceiling, that saves a huge amount of hours, and specifically labor hours, which are very expensive,” says Slava Solonitsyn, CEO and cofounder of Mighty Buildings. The company’s process automates up to 80% of the total construction process. The rest—including the windows, plumbing, and electrical happen on-site. A “bathroom pod” is made by another supplier manually, and is then installed separately.