How do you solve a widespread national problem like the housing crisis? You build more homes, of course. However, materials are scarce, and prices are high in many cases – which is why some startups are taking to 3D printing. Could this technology help to solve construction woes for decades to come?
3D House Printing: A Brief Overview
3D printing in itself is a mind-boggling concept. However, it is no longer the niche interest or asset that many assumed it to be. By 2020, the market for 3D printing services, in total, reached a value of $13 billion. That’s only set to expand by over 26% come mid-decade.
Naturally, the broader availability of 3D printing technology and resources has meant creative solutions for long-burning problems. For example, some companies are using 3D printing to help develop house-building kits.
The argument for doing so lies not only in its convenience but also in cost savings. Some companies claim that they can print a whole house for ‘construction’ in just half a day. That, alone, is shaving the production time and helping to meet more strenuous expectations.
However, this is a niche trade that still has room to grow. What are specific US startups doing to help push 3D printing and home construction to the next level?
Startups Building for the Future
It’s impossible to discuss 3D house printing in the Us without considering ICON. Worth at least $77 million in direct funding, the Austin TX firm claims to lead the way for speedy home builds. Specifically, ICON works with the leading industrial printing standard, Vulcan, to develop house pieces and parts.
One of ICON’s focuses, too, is on sustainability. They also make house printing more customizable, meaning investors won’t have to worry about having to stick to specific templates.
A further challenger in the sphere is Branch, a Chattanooga-based firm founded in 2015. Branch has two years on ICON with regard to experience and is worth at least $22 million in funding. This venture’s niche lies in wall structures, specifically cellular cores.
Branch’s innovations help construction experts produce material that is lightweight and almost endlessly flexible. It also works seamlessly with existing construction materials and standards, meaning it’s printed to combine with concrete and insulation.
Thirdly, let’s go mobile with Apis Cor. Worth $6 million in funding, this Boston unit provides a circular printing unit that you can take with you across construction sites. The Apis Cor unit has a circle-shaped base that allows for printing multiple pieces, frames, and layers.
All the companies listed above offer different eyes on a very interesting industry. Could we wave goodbye to traditional construction altogether in centuries to come?
How Can Investors Get Involved?
While there are only a small grouping of 3D printing startups focused on houses at this time, there are still some lucrative avenues opening up.
For example, interested investors and third parties may wish to check databases such as Fundz for the latest details. Could startups offering this new form of construction be waiting for you?