Michigan’s first 3D printed house finds its home in Detroit.


The state of Michigan has recently unveiled its first 3D-printed house, an unassuming single-story home painted in an avocado green hue, situated in Detroit’s Islandview neighborhood. Spearheaded by local nonprofit Citizen Robotics, the project serves as a tangible example of the potential of 3D printing in the urban landscape of Detroit. The initiative began four years ago when Evelyn Woodman, struck by the transformative capabilities of 3D printing in construction, saw an opportunity for Detroit to lead in this technological wave. Drawing on the city’s rich automotive history, Woodman and her father, Tom, ingeniously repurposed a printer that had previously been used in automobile manufacturing. According to Woodman, once automotive companies have used these printers for nine years, they typically discard them. Citizen Robotics’s printer, named the Upcycled Automotive Printer, works with a non-proprietary mortar mix and standard parts, a deliberate choice to ensure that their construction process can be easily replicated by others, making this technology accessible to all. The home’s design was entrusted to architect Bryan Cook of Develop Architecture, with the objective of seamlessly blending it into the existing neighborhood. Cook believed that an overly avant-garde design would not effectively introduce the residents of Detroit to the possibilities of 3D printing in construction. Furthermore, Citizens Robotics paid attention to ensuring that the home is accessible, with an open floor plan specifically tailored to accommodate individuals with mobility challenges. The organization also emphasized the home’s energy-efficient features, such as its airtight construction, which makes it easier to cool during hot summers and reduces heating expenses in winter. Unlike many other projects in the additive construction field, Citizens Robotics decided to print the walls and structural supports of the house at their own production facility. After reinforcing it with a wooden frame and topping it with foam panels for the roof, the structure was fully printed in just five days and transported to the Islandview neighborhood for on-site assembly. Despite the potential of 3D printed construction, the team openly admits that, currently, they have not been able to reduce costs compared to traditional building methods. The initial projections estimated a cost of around $230 per square foot for this project. To cover the cost of construction materials, the Michigan State Housing Development Authority also provided $160,000 in funding. It will be interesting to see how cost-effective and replicable this model is as the project progresses. Nevertheless, with a listing price of $224,500, the 3D printed home offers a more affordable option compared to other newly constructed houses in the area. As 3D printing technology continues to advance, the integration of 3D-printed homes into mainstream housing will become increasingly common. We can only hope that other builders and community advocates will be inspired to repurpose industrial printers and provide new solutions to urban housing challenges. To stay informed about the latest news in the 3D printing industry and receive relevant information and offers from third-party vendors, make sure to keep abreast with our updates.

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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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