Charity 3D Prints Home for Virginia Woman in Just 12 Hours

by TK Sanders
(Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)

If you thought a 3D printer could only build toys or gadgets, think again. Renowned home-building charity Habitat for Humanity just built a 1,200-square-foot home for a worthy recipient in half a day.

The charity partnered with printing company Alquist to create a legitimate three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Virginia. April Springfield of Williamsport, Va., received the home in record time. According to the organization, homes of this size and complexity typically take about four weeks to build normally.

Springfield also got to help put the “puzzle” together herself. Cooperative efforts are commonplace for Habitat for humanity, who likes to have recipients be a part of the building process. Springfield estimates that she put in around 300 hours of sweat equity toward the project. She and her 13-year-old son moved in this month.

How the Program Works

Springfield was eligible for the subsidized gift by earning less than 80 percent of the area’s median income. She works as a laundry facility supervisor at a local hotel in the area.

Once the home is built, Habitat for Humanity offers low-rate mortgages that will never exceed 30 percent of the owner’s income at a given time. The money received is then used to build other homes, and the program grows exponentially.

But here’s the best part: Springfield also received her own 3D printer. Therefore, she can print her own replacement products, like doorknobs, as they break or wear down. The home’s liquid concrete foundation is actually quite cost-effective and environmentally friendly. The concrete typically costs about 15 percent less than traditional building products. It also increases insulation, offers good weather protection, and decreases heating and cooling bills.

The home also qualified as EarthCraft certified. This means it will be more affordable to maintain than one without the certification. The certification also means that the home required less environmental impact than a typical home of similar stature.

What a 3D Printer Means for the Home-building Industry

This home is the first of its kind in the US, according to Habitat for Humanity. With the success of the build, the organization says it plans to build another in Tempe, Arizona next month.

“My son and I are so thankful,” Springfield said, teary-eyed, in December. “I always wanted to be a homeowner. It’s like a dream come true.”

She also mentioned how happy she felt to settle down in a place that is hers.

“I’m excited to make new memories in Williamsburg,” she also said. “Especially in a house. A home. Someplace I can call home and give my son that backyard he can play in and also for my puppy to run around the yard.”

Could this technology significantly disrupt the construction sector in years to come? Could 3D-printed homes become commonplace in a world where the price of raw materials continues to rise steadily? Only time will tell, but the success of this project bodes well for the future.