Exploring 3D Printing as a Solution for Affordable Housing: Highlights from the UOG Event


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UOG: The University of Guam sign is spotted at the Mangilao campus on Wednesday, July 12, 2023. Credited to Frank San Nicolas/The Guam Daily Post

Is 3D concrete printing the solution for affordable housing in Guam? The Additive Construction Round Table event, scheduled for Friday at the University of Guam, hopes to answer this question.

In recent years, affordable housing on Guam has become a significant issue, with rapid increases in home costs and a small supply. To many, home ownership remains an unfulfilled dream. However, Ann Dela Cruz, a real estate investor and co-founder of Starsand Technologies, sees potential in 3D printing as a way to make this dream more accessible.

Adrian Sinclair, Starsand Technologies co-founder, introduced her to the concept of 3D printing. “He mentioned, ‘We can now print houses.’ I was initially skeptical, aware of Guam’s prevalent use of concrete in construction, but he assured me, ‘We can print homes using concrete,’” shared Dela Cruz in a conversation with The Guam Daily Post.

Dela Cruz, in her capacity as an Army Reservist, crossed paths with Sinclair during her stint at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Sinclair is a dedicated civilian contractor for the Department of Defense and has been elemental in assisting the Air Force amplify their operational efficiency. The duo is the brain behind Starsand Technologies, a venture created with a vision to bring cost-effective, durable and environmentally conscious housing and infrastructure to Guam through the innovative technology of 3D concrete printing.

They have been invited to share their insights at the Additive Construction Round Table event hosted by UOG. The event aims to explore the feasibility of 3D printing as a construction strategy for homes in Guam.

Dela Cruz emphasized on the necessity of understanding the needs of all vital parties in order to actualize their objective of building a home using the 3D concrete printing technology. “In order to make this possible, it’s crucial to identify all the key stakeholders and understand their specific requirements,” said Dela Cruz.

She further highlighted the importance of having all stakeholders on the same page. “We can bring the printer here, but without sufficient local resources to carry out the projects, our progress would be hindered,” she added.

The event will bring Ernesto Guades, UOG assistant professor of civil and structural engineering, to the table to discuss his research on sustainable concrete on Guam.

“He’s trying to find a way to utilize Guam natural resources,… what can we do to reduce our dependency on imports, and to us, that’s concrete. We can use limestone, sea salt or fiber from bamboo. Let’s see what we can do,” said Dela Cruz.

Starsand Technologies also will be speaking about its role in the effort.

“Our desire is to basically design and build using these printers and, for us, it’s all about designing concrete,” uttered Dela Cruz.

Alexander De Vore, who holds the position of chief executive officer at 3D Printing Corp., based in Japan, is set to share his wealth of knowledge in 3D printing and digital supply chain solutions.

“We additionally have an organization originating from Japan, recognized as a 3D printing corporation, are in the stage of additive manufacturing already. Unlike others, they don’t utilize a concrete printer but focus on plastics primarily,” according to Dela Cruz.

Despite 3D printing homes being a novel concept on Guam, Dela Cruz remains optimistic that this discussion will lay the groundwork for affordable homeownership on the island.

Mark your calendars for the Additive Construction Round Table scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 17.

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“Why did the 3D printer go to therapy? Because it had too many layers of unresolved issues!”


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