3D printed housing

Not exactly new, but an interesting development and one that’s likely to impact consumers.


I can see this being readily applied to Australia’s housing needs.

Firstly, we have a vast number of homeless who need housing. Secondly, there were calls to provide proper housing for aboriginals in remote communities. This technology could be rolled out (pardon the pun) to quckly fabricate multiple small sturdy dwellings that would hopefully last some time.


A large portion of the buildings - including the roof, windows and doors still appears to rely upon manual work. Plumbing and electricity would be the same.

One wonders if it would be possible to have 3D printers side by side working in different materials that are then just slotted into place like LEGO blocks. (Of course, they would have to be securely slotted - you wouldn’t want to wake up one morning to find that someone had made off with the front door.)

I am not sure that building more homes is necessarily the answer to this. My impression is that homelessness is a growing problem in Australia precisely - if not directly - because of government policies. We also need a trained workforce, which I understand is half the problem in providing decent housing to remote communities.


It’s unfortunate the article skipped past these items.
Code compliance aside, the concrete mix, pumping, placement device (printer) is simply replacing one step of many in constructing a dwelling.

The designs adopted for the project in Mexico might also lend themselves to precast module construction off site. This could be by the ‘printer’ or more common preformed moulds with steel reinforcing.

It will be interesting to see how the system is developed further, and if it indeed achieves significant cost savings. In particular for a dwelling that most Australians would consider a minimum community standard.

Given the absence of reinforcing steel the blend of the concrete mix required to achieve adequate structural strength may also be a challenge.

Social Considerations

In respect of housing I always find the following detail from the ABS 2017-2018 data most challenging.

  • The average number of persons per household remained stable at 2.6, and the average number of bedrooms per dwelling was unchanged at 3.2.

Australia’s housing crisis on this statistic is a mirage. We not only have enough bedrooms for everyone of us to sleep alone. We have at least one spare in every second dwelling.

”How good is Australia?”

Perhaps the real problem lies somewhere else?

Do we need a 3D ‘Unprinter’ to take dwellings and bedrooms away, before we build even more?

Housing for many is no longer a necessity, it has become iconic; a fashion statement, that has a finite life span that should be pulled down and replaced every five years. Perhaps a 3D building printer that can recycle a dwelling is part of the solution for those with the money to spare?


In construction, 3D printing has been around since before it was called 3D printing. There are other technologies, of course. Remember the robot bricklayer? Whichever is best will be employed for the task at hand.

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