Are 3D Printed Houses the Surprising Future of Construction?
Seems like 3D printing of housing components has taken off. While much is made of onsite concrete “printing” for walls and partitions, manufactured housing has depended on common building techniques—panels, studs, braces—to create deliverable and quickly erected buildings. Now a company in California is proposing a combination approach using composite materials and the idea is getting a lot of interest from investors.
Mighty Buildings, Oakland, Calif., is 3D printing homes with advanced robotics and proprietary composites. The company is able to print an entire home, offsite, in around twenty-four to thirty-six hours. By applying state-of-the-art automation and new technologies, Mighty Buildings can produce 3D printed structures two times as quickly and with 10 times less waste than conventional construction. On a structural basis, its composite materials are stronger and more resilient than concrete, the company reports.
3D Printed Houses Take Off
ArcTern Ventures, a climate tech fund with offices in Canada, United States, and Norway, is one of the investors in Mighty Buildings as part of the company’s $40 million Series B round. ArcTern is specifically focused on investing in clean-technology companies addressing climate change and sustainability. Its latest investment in Mighty Buildings was driven by the company’s unique technology and potential to eliminate waste from the construction process. The Mighty Buildings panelized technology printing system yields virtually zero waste and the byproduct waste is recycled into the production of new material.
The company has already seen an increase in demand for its new way of building. Since launching in 2020, Mighty Buildings has successfully produced, delivered, and installed numerous ADUs (accessory dwelling units), often called Tiny Houses, and are now taking orders for Mighty Houses – its newest product line. The Mighty House line is available for pre-order as both an ADU or single family house using a 3D-printed exterior panelized shell.
The Future of 3D Printed Houses
Mighty Buildings will be introducing its Mighty Kit System in 2021 and a new fiber-reinforced material for multi-story projects. The company’s approach to housing construction includes 3D-printing, robotics, and a proprietary thermoset composite material it invented called Light Stone Material. Mighty Buildings aims to unlock productivity in construction by combining 3D-printing and prefab, making construction more sustainable, efficient, and affordable compared to traditional construction.
The company obtained the first UL certification for a 3D printed building component, the first UL Evaluation Report of a 3D-printed wall construction, and is the first company/product certified under the new UL 3401 standard for 3D printing in construction. Mighty Buildings is also the first company to receive approval under California’s Factory Built Housing program for a residential unit incorporating 3D-printing for its current hybrid product.