VALLEY CENTER, Kan. (KSNW) — Valley Center announced it’s working with a local company to develop the state’s first 3D-printed home community. It would be the first of its kind in Kansas.
To some, it may feel like we’ve catapulted to the future, but an expert said this technology has been used in Europe for years. CEO of CrainCo3D (CC3D) Eric Ross went overseas to learn the process of 3D home printing. He said many of the construction methods aren’t too different from a traditional home.
“You’ll have the contractor come out level the pad. You’ll have a nice little dirt pad and pour some footings, then we bring in the printing equipment,” said Ross.
Ross claims the machine used by CC3D can print 2,400 square foot structures by layering cement a few inches at a time.
“The actual head that is printing is about a two-inch nozzle connected to a concrete pump and hose that pushes the concrete through that hose, and then a computer program gives it a tool path to tell them where that head needs to be to lay down that beat of concrete,” explained Ross.
After printing all the walls, they set their trusses and install the roof, doors, windows, and interior finishes.
“The 3D printing process kind of takes the place of the framing, drywall, and siding,” Ross continued.
Due to that, the process of building the home is faster.
“We’re projecting to be able to save at least two to four weeks on projects,” added Ross.
Ross said 3D printing is about 10-15% cheaper because of reduced labor costs. Those savings, said builder Bob Cook, can be impactful for many.
“There’s so many people now that are out of the entry-level market just because the cost has gotten so high with the cost of materials and labor. If it gets people into the market and they get a chance to be homeowners and start building some equity, then I’m all for it,” said Cook.
Builder Paul Gray is excited about this new technology.
“That’s the funnest part of this. It’s figuring out a new way to do everything. I mean, I personally like challenges. I picked this business because there’s no part of building that’s easy. Every day is something new,” said Gray.