Iowa State University recently announced plans to use a giant 3D printer to manufacture affordable homes in rural Iowa.
Earlier this month, the ISU College of Design’s 3D Affordable Innovative Technologies Housing Project received a $1.4 million Strategic Infrastructure Program (SIP) grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The grant will fund equipment and materials, including a 3D construction printer, 3D concrete construction printing materials and components, on-site robotics, mobile CNC machining, web technologies, and virtual and extended reality. The project, when fully funded, is proposed to be $2.14 million, including the SIP grant.
The project will work with Brunow Contracting on a demonstration build as part of a 40-unit development in Hamburg, Iowa, in 2022 as part of the community’s recovery efforts from 2019 flooding.
The school said its giant 3D printer, which features an overhead gantry system with a computer nozzle that dispenses concrete, can build an entire home in a matter of days.
Julie Robison, program manager for the Institute for Design Research and Outreach and community and economic development specialist for ISU Extension and Outreach, will serve as the manager of the project. She will also lead the Iowa Affordable Housing Survey to help compare the costs of the team’s demonstration builds to other affordable housing initiatives.
“Affordable housing is a crucial issue across the state of Iowa — both in rural and urban areas — and this work will aim to help the industry and funders understand how to provide housing in the most affordable and most efficient manner, especially when dealing with disaster recovery,” she said. “We hope that new technologies and more efficient, affordable ways of providing housing will be shared throughout our Extension and Outreach work in affordable housing as a result.”
ISU said the Hamburg neighborhood project will help the team “understand design, affordability, zoning and building codes, community engagement and training” for when the project expands to other locations.