April 13, 2021

RDB-Design

Specialists in home design

First 3D printed home hits market in Northeast

First a foundation is poured, then a frame erected and eventually, wall by wall and...

First a foundation is poured, then a frame erected and eventually, wall by wall and finish by finish, a home is constructed. On average, the process to build a new home in its entirety can take between three and six months, according to Realtor.com. However, any number of factors — from unfavorable weather conditions to delays in material arrival — can extend that construction time.

But what if a home could be constructed in no more than eight days? By a 3D printer? For Long Island, N.Y.-based company SQ4D, Inc., such a thing is not only possible, it’s happening. Using a massive 3D printer that resembles an arm outstretched over a land parcel, SQ4D is poised to bring this very technology to the rest of the East Coast in the near future.

The 3D house printing company based in Long Island’s Patchogue recently placed the first 3D printed home for sale in the U.S. on the market in Riverhead, N.Y.; when it’s custom-completed for a buyer, it will be a 1,400-square-foot home that will feature three bedrooms and two full bathrooms, along with a two-and-a-half-car garage for $299,999.

Across the Long Island Sound in Connecticut, local officials are ready to anticipate any future 3D printing requests that may arise, from SQ4D or any other companies that seek to build in the state.

“We are in support of anything that meets building code and brings price down,” said Greenwich Planning and Zoning Director, Katie DeLuca, AICP, in an email to Hearst CT Media.

In just four years, SQ4D has come closer to making this a reality. The company, founded in 2017, originally got its start fabricating desktop 3D printers. In the time since, it has scaled up to medium and large-scale machines, Director of Operations at SQ4D Kirk Andersen said, with his small operation eyeing one big thing: homes.

“It was just a couple guys, no big thing, and we were all privately funded,” said Andersen. “We did this all in our home town, and we researched and developed and patented a lot of the technology we now use.”

Thus began a model home construction project in Calverton, N.Y. To complete the task, SQ4D utilized its patent-pending 3D printing technology known as an “Autonomous Robotic Construction System” or ARCS. Capable of being transported and set up at any construction site, the system is designed to withstand almost all weather and reduces the typical transportation time for materials to be brought from a warehouse to the job site.

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period, with their

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period, with their “Autonomous Robotic Construction System,” or ARCS, machinery set up to print the home with concrete on site. An aerial view shows the home construction site in mid-printing process.

Contributed by Kirk Andersen, SQ4D, Inc.

“That’s where everything is headed — to not just do this stuff in panels and transport it, but do what we call ‘in situ,’ or on-site 3D printing,” said Andersen. “So having the manufacturing plant on site instead of doing it inside a controlled factory and shipping those panels somewhere else, now I can show up, do this, and get out so we can spend less time on the job site.”

The 3D printer is fed rich mix, high-compression strength concrete; no plastic is used, said Andersen, creating a strong, weather-resistant structure that is also simple to build and omits the potential danger of having multiple employees on site working side by side with heavy materials.

The home is then built according to a 3D model taken to scale that is put through a “slicer,” which divides the digital model into layers that become a printable, 2D layout of the home. The printer replicates the layout, layer by layer, with the cement mixture, all while allowing for other design elements, such as window openings and electrical outlets.

With a goal of building homes in half the time and with half the cost, the 1900-square-foot Calverton model home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period. The build used as few as three people to construct — one to feed the machine, one to monitor the machine and one to spot the process — and fulfilled 41 percent of the home’s total construction, using under $6,000 in materials, according to the project overview.

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period.

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period.

Contributed by Kirk Andersen, SQ4D, Inc.

Yet for Andersen, there is still room for improvement.

“Eventually, we will have this down to just one guy on the machine,” he said. “Eventually, we will get to this point: the machine is not very noisy, so we could eventually print 24/7, obviously expediting house builds tremendously.”

Following the Calverton home’s completion and the pending sale and build of the Riverhead, N.Y. home, SQ4D has another two projects already in the works for 2021, according to Andersen. While full details of the company’s future “semi-local residences” are yet to be disclosed, he said that beyond this year, SQ4D would like to add the construction of foundations and other structural elements to its roster, which can “lead to roads, infrastructure, skyscrapers and superstructures” being built in the future.

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period. The interior of the model home was finished and staged for public viewing, with a full kitchen installed.

3D home printing company SQ4D, Inc. built their first model home in Calverton, N.Y., a 1,900-square-foot home that was home was completed in 48 hours of print time spread over an eight-day period. The interior of the model home was finished and staged for public viewing, with a full kitchen installed.

Contributed by Kirk Andersen, SQ4D, Inc.

Also in SQ4D’s future? Expanding the territory they serve with its construction process. While it is currently eyeing Florida as well as North and South Carolina as other locations in which to offer its services, Connecticut and the tri-state area in general are certainly fair game.