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3D Printing Homes

May 1, 2021 | Trends

When Chuck Hull invented the first three-dimensional (3D) printer in 1983, 3D printers cost around $300,000. By 2014, prices of some 3D printers had fallen below $500, but a mass market remains elusive.
  • Market size โ€“ In 2020, 3D printing was estimated to be a $13 billion market.
  • Applications โ€“ 3D printing is primarily used in industrial applications, typically prototyping and manufacturing. In the early 2010s, manufacturers kicked off a race to create the least expensive 3D printer designed for personal applications but that market failed to materialize. In October 2012, MakerBot, a 3D printing pioneer, opened its first store on Mulberry Street in New Yorkโ€™s hip Bowery neighborhood. Three years later, the company shuttered its three brick-and-mortar stores, including the one on Mulberry.
  • 3D-printed homes โ€“ In March 2018, Austin, Tex.-based Icon, a startup focused on creating new, sustainable building practices, showed off the worldโ€™s first 3D-printed home at SXSW. Its debut project, the East 17th Street Residences, is now under construction. In Rancho Mirage, Calif., another development, pictured above, uses materials from Oakland-based Mighty Buildings. Scheduled to be completed next spring, the 15 Palari homes pre-sold within days, some even purchased with bitcoin.

Mighty Buildings uses robots to print a composite material the company calls Light Stone Material, which is both stronger and lighter than concrete.

Michael Tchongโ€™s Ubertrends book
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