Home 3d Printing Home Is Where the Printer IS

Home Is Where the Printer IS


I want to print a small house in the woods.

I have long dreamed of a simpler life, far removed from the day-to-day stress of work pressures and financial pressures and social pressures and family pressures and the unrelenting demand for new passwords that must be at least 12 characters in length.

If I was smarter, these daydreams would place me in a villa on my own sun-drenched Pacific island, my every need catered to by well-paid servants and a robust IT staff to help me log into all the stuff I would need to log into. Like the app that rotates my house so I can watch both the sunrise and sunset from my spacious veranda.

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But rather pathetically, my daydreams are much more subdued, if equally unattainable.

In my daydreams I envision myself sitting warm and snuggly in front of a cast iron wood burning stove in a rustic cabin which I have constructed myself out of Lincoln Logs.

In my daydreams I envision myself with a beard and a barrel chest snugly contained within a flannel shirt hefting the pre-cut timbers and hoisting the green plastic roof on top as the day’s last light filters through the pines.

I am reasonably comfortable with an axe and a maul, but notched and sorted Lincoln Logs are much easier and faster to build, and I am less likely to lose a finger.

Like I said, it is a pathetic dream.

But I have recently discovered that my rustic home building fantasy may not be as wild as I once thought. For it seems that with advancements in industrial strength 3D printers, I can now pour a concrete house in just a couple of days for around $4,000.

It works this way. The location is leveled and a giant 3D printer is assembled on site, consisting of a freely sliding nozzle zipping across moving gantries. Concrete is pumped into the piping nozzle which moves in tight coordination with the cranes to spread layer upon layer of extruded concrete like dribbing a sand castle.

The printer is connected to a laptop which controls the precise movement of the nozzle according to exacting specifications rendered by design software.

I’m guessing that living in a concrete house is kind of like living in a basement with the exception that you can hurt yourself if you jump out a window. That is, assuming you have remembered to program some windows. And doors for that matter. If not, it is probably like living in a tomb.

OK, it may not be a log cabin, but all I have to do is hit print and a few hours later I am living stress free inside my own personal bunker minus the gun emplacements. What could be simpler?

In my new daydream I have installed the latest version of iHouse Pro and downloaded some pirated plans of the Guggenheim museum that I have scaled to fit on my small clearing in the woods. I am thwarted initially because I don’t have wireless, but after rigging up a 300 foot USB cable I am able to plug in my 3D printer, put on a flannel shirt, and start construction.

Of course, being new technology, there are glitches. For example when I hit print I get a notification that my house is outside the printable margins. And occasionally the printer jams and I have to open the rear door and clear the soupy gravel before I can resume printing. And when the back of the house starts layering atop the front of the house I realize I must specify single sided printing. And unless I want a highrise, I need to print in landscape mode.

But the good news is that HP concrete cartridges are significantly cheaper than HP ink cartridges. They are just heavier.

Ironically, an industrial 3D concrete printer to build an economical home is not currently economical for home use. However, as the technology improves and industrial 3D printers that can print industrial 3D printers are developed, surely the price will come down such that for as little as $5,000 I can build my $4,000 dollar dream house in the woods.

And once the technology is readily accessible to DIY daydreamers like me, who is to say what I can or cannot print on my property. I am only limited by my imagination.

For example, I could use gingerbread mix instead of concrete. Or jello.

And with new synthetic textiles on the horizon, I could extrude a wearable house. Imagine living inside a warm and cozy 2 bedroom, 2 bath 1,000 square foot flannel shirt.

Or how about a little sand and salt water? I could print my own private island in the Pacific and log into my villa of Lincoln Logs that I printed with a little redwood sawdust and Elmer’s glue.

It is written God created the heavens and the earth in six days.

Just imagine what I can do with a 3D printer on Sunday.


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