Most of the time, technology doesn’t just creep up on us. It comes at us at lightning speed, and sometimes passes us by without us even being aware.

At my company, we sometimes use a 3D printer for various things. Printers that are generally available are awesome for the one-off part that is needed or a prototype of a product.

But they do have limitations and can only use plastic or resin-based material, but did you know that they are now 3D printing actual houses using concrete and not plastic?

Up until the other day, I didn’t even know that capability existed, but now industrial 3D printers can build up concrete walls based on a 3D model and “print” houses completely autonomously.

These gigantic printers can build an entire printed house that is ready for a roof and other finishing in just hours.

Concrete 3D printing offers the chance to build houses faster, more accurately and cheaper than ever before.

The process is environmentally friendly, using only the exact amount of material required to build the house. Less concrete and other materials are used than in traditional methods, which benefits the environment.

3D printed houses cost less in most cases, especially given the price of lumber and metal today. A large part of the costs in building a house is the labor involved, as houses take so long to construct.

A house 3D printer only requires one person to monitor it, thereby vastly reducing costs. Of course, the drawback there is loss of construction jobs, but as workers keep up with technology they could be prepared to transition to the new way of doing things.

Printing a house is relatively quick. Traditional houses take between four and six months to build on average, but a 3D printer can print the structure of a house in just a day. With knowledgeable contractors to put in doors, roofs, and windows, this means completed houses could be built in just a few weeks.

Because 3D printing allows for accuracy far beyond what humans are capable of, complex designs can be created by 3D printers of all shapes and sizes.

This is beneficial not just aesthetically, but also in the ability to create houses customized to be as efficient as possible as retaining heat, saving money, as well as creating environments that disabled people can live in comfortably.

However, it is still important to be realistic. 3D printed houses are likely not as cheap as the companies who have built 3D printed houses claim they are.

They only list the cost of the house in terms of the materials consumed to build it, omitting key factors such as labor, the cost of the printer (renting or buying), interior and external finishing, and wiring, plumbing, and other key foundations.

If you’re interested in seeing the progression of how these printers are making houses, you may want to check out TikTok on your device, and search for @cmeadows3.

The company shown there is actually printing a house for Habitat for Humanity, a very worthwhile cause and a good way to demonstrate the technology.

Mark DeWitte is Vice President of MBM Packaging and DivisionWon in Rogersville. You can contact him at markdewitte@gmail.com