The Ramdani family of Nantes, France, recently came to the attention of the international construction and engineering communities as the first family ever to move into a 3D-printed home. Though several experiments had previously demonstrated the viability of 3D printing entire houses, this is the first time that a home constructed with additive manufacturing has been occupied by real residents.
The Advantages of 3D Printing
The 1,022 square foot home in Nantes clearly demonstrates the advantages of 3D printing over more traditional construction methods. The entire structure of the house was printed by a concrete 3D printer in just 54 hours, a time much faster than any normal construction technique could achieve. As with earlier 3D-printed prototype homes, normal human labor was still required to complete the building with plumbing, wiring and other pieces of essential infrastructure. At the end of the project, the total cost was calculated at £176,000. Though not inexpensive, estimates suggest that a comparable home built with traditional construction methods would have cost approximately 20 percent more.
The Ramdani home includes several unusual architectural elements that would be difficult to achieve under more normal conditions. In order to avoid cutting down mature trees that were already on the property, for instance, the house was designed to curve around them. This curve is also expected to improve the air circulation in the home and prevent it from becoming too hot or humid.
The Future of 3D Printing
The home’s lead designer, Benoit Furet, envisions a future in which 3D-printed homes will become a normal part of everyday life. He estimates that the cost of 3D printing a house will be reduced by as much as 40 percent over the next 15 years. In Furet’s view, 3D printing will not only bring down the cost of housing but also allow architects to innovate and experiment more with their designs. With the Ramdani family now settled into their new home, Furet is already moving onto a larger project in which his team will print 18 homes in a North Paris neighborhood.
If Furet’s vision for the construction industry comes to pass, the construction and architecture jobs of the future will require a knowledge of 3D printing and design. If today’s children are to be adequately prepared for these jobs, they need to start learning about this exciting new field of technology as soon as possible. Classroom 3D printers, like those made by Me3D, are great tools for helping students take their first steps in the world of 3D printing.