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  • Writer's pictureJake Simons

3-D Printing Homes

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

3-D printers print make more than just plastic. With a 3-D printer you can print metal, glass and even food. As new technology emerges we are constantly finding new ways to adapt it. Not long ago 3-D printing was developed and now it is being used for constructing buildings.

Who Made It?

MIT researchers developed this extraordinary 3-D printer. “The system consists of a tracked vehicle that carries a large industrial robotic arm, which has a smaller, precision-motion robotic arm at its end” (Massachusetts Institute of Technology).

How Does it Work?

The long robotic arm moves in a circular motion creating polyurethane foam walls. After the walls are constructed the printer fills them with concrete.

This is a similar technique to what the construction companies are using today. The robot can be completely self sufficient if powered by solar panels and a milling head is used to gather materials.

What are the benefits?

The new system of printing is faster, more efficient, and cheaper than traditional methods. A prototype dome was created in only 14 hours using minimal material.

Another benefit to this building method is the customization it allows for. Each house can be customised by the builder to create details that would have never been possible. For example, they can build walls thicker on the top to support weight more efficiently.

Could it replace current construction?

It will not take over the construction market for some time. Right now, the printer can only create circular objects. However, with a few adjustments it can be adapted to print in all shapes.

This new method of building is faster, cost effective, and most importantly much safer. The construction industry is one of the most dangerous occupations. This machine could limit the lives we put at risk each day.

What are the future applications?

The future applications of this new printer look very promising. We could potentially send it to Antarctica or even the Mars. The self sufficient machine could build for years being controlled remotely.

Another potential use is to set them up after a storm or in 3rd world countries. They can build safe shelters very quickly and efficiently to serve as many people as possible.

The long robotic arm moves in a circular motion creating polyurethane foam walls. After the  walls are constructed the printer fills them with concrete.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2017, April 26). System can 3-D print

an entire building: Tech could enable faster, cheaper, more adaptable building construction. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 11, 2017 from

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