June 18, 2013 12:02 pm

It would take over 150 years to 3D print the average Canadian home

The MakerBot® Replicator™2 Desktop 3D Printer shown above.

Photo courtesy of MakerBot

TORONTO – The 3D printing craze has brought an onslaught of wacky plastic creations – from the comical 3D printed “Sad Keanu Reeves” meme doll, to the controversial 3D-printed gun.

A number of architectural firms, most recently an Amsterdam-based firm, have also been toying with the idea of creating the world’s first 3D-printed house.

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But a U.S.-based group of real estate bloggers have created an online calculator that may prove the idea of 3D house-printing is dead end.

Read More: How does 3D printing work?

The calculator, created by Movoto Blog, allows users to determine how many 3D-printed bricks would be needed to recreate their home. The tool then displays the amount of time that it would take to physically construct a 3D-printed home.

Hint: It will take more than a lifetime.

Take the average newly-built Canadian home – which comes in at about 1,900 square feet, according to a 2012 survey by the Canadian Home Builders Association.

Movoto Blog’s calculator estimated that a two-story home of that size would take 176 years, 10 months and 25 days to print, at a cost of $267, 168 for 22,264 bricks.

Would a condo be cheaper?

With the average Canadian condo measuring just 800 square feet, it would take 92 years, 9 months and 7 days to print, at a cost of $140,100 for 11,675 bricks.

The tool’s calculations are based around the MakerBot Replicator 2, one of the most widely-used consumer-level 3D printers available, and a standard-sized brick which measures 8 x 3.5 x 2.75 inches.

“Based on the print speed of the Replicator 2, we calculated that it would take 2.9 days to print one solid brick of plastic at this size using the machine’s mid-range .255 millimeter detail setting (this is a brick, after all, not a highly detailed figurine),” wrote Movoto blogger Randy Nelson.

“What’s more, the amount of ABS plastic required to create one brick (262 cubic centimeters) would cost about $12 per brick (MakerBot sells 1kg of ABS for $48 and each brick weighs 262g). By comparison, Home Depot sells standard red clay bricks at 30 cents a pop.”

Calling his findings “ridiculous” Nelson then set out to figure out how many 3D printers it would take to get a house built in a reasonable amount of time – based on the assumption that the average house would take four months to build.

“Since one Replicator 2 could make about 40 bricks in that time, it would take 2,011 machines to print all 27,735 bricks in the same time period at a total cost of $4.4 million for the hardware alone (at $2,199 per printer),” wrote Nelson.

Despite Nelson’s doubts in 3D-printed houses, a group of Dutch architects is working towards its goal of being the first to create a house using 3D printing technology.

But instead of using a commercial-sized printer, the firm is using a six-metre-tall printer to print parts of the house.

The firm hopes to have the entire front of the building and internal lobby completed before the end of the year and will gradually build the rest of the building as development continues, according to a report by The Telegraph.

See how long it would take to 3D print your home:

By Movoto

© Shaw Media, 2013

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