Habitat for Humanity Builds Its First 3D-Printed Home in Nation

The custom, single-story home, currently under construction on a lot owned by the City of Tempe, combines 3D printing and traditional construction to create an innovative model for the future. 

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona (Habitat) is building its first 3D-printed home in Tempe, seeking to transform affordable housing opportunities.

The custom, single-story home, currently under construction on a lot owned by the City of Tempe, combines 3D printing and traditional construction to create an innovative model for the future: a scalable, cost-effective homeownership solution to address the affordable housing crisis facing communities nationwide.

“This is really a moonshot opportunity for Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona,” said Jason Barlow, president and CEO of Habitat Central Arizona. “When we consider the housing issues facing Arizona, the need for affordable homeownership solutions becomes clear. If we can deliver decent, affordable, more energy-efficient homes at less cost, in less time and with less waste, we think that could be a real game-changer. Just think of the implications.”

The new 3D-printed home project is a single-family home with three bedrooms, and two baths. The livable space is 1,738 square feet, and the total project is 2,433 square feet. 70 - 80% of the home is 3D printed, including all internal and external walls. The remainder of the house is a traditional build.

The home is expected to be completed in August / September. Potential income-qualified homeowners are currently being identified through Habitat Central Arizona’s standard application process. The home could be occupied as early as October 2021.

Barlow praised project partners.

“This kind of innovation does not happen without amazing partners and we are extremely grateful to all of them,” Barlow said. “Bringing people together is central to our mission and in this case, we’re bringing together new partners in the form of engineers, architects, developers and others looking for a breakthrough in the affordable housing space.”

Habitat Central Arizona and the City of Tempe have been partners for more than 30 years. Current work includes building the 3D-printed home, at 677 W. 19th St., and building 15 traditional homes on four city lots. 

 “Tempe is known for innovation and this ground-breaking project aligns perfectly with our goal to identify new solutions that accelerate the growth of affordable and workforce housing in our city,” said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods. “Working with valued partners, we want to ensure that everyone who wants to live in Tempe can do so. Beyond our city borders, this project can serve as a model for other communities as we all work to meet the critical needs of families who truly are the faces of this growing housing affordability crisis.”

Germany-based PERI shipped its 3D printer to the U.S. in March. It was then transported to Arizona in April and printing began in Tempe in May.

"Our PERI 3D construction printing team is incredibly proud to print this home in Tempe for Habitat for Humanity,” said Thomas Imbacher, managing director innovation and marketing of the PERI Group. “Since 2016, PERI has been working intensively on the development of 3D construction printing solutions for residential construction. In 2020, PERI realized the first ever 3D-printed house in Germany with a BOD2 printer, followed shortly afterwards by the largest 3D-printed apartment building in Europe to date. The 3D-printing project in Tempe is now continuing this success story in the USA.”

How to use 3D Printing to build a home

PERI’s BOD2 printer is a gantry printer and the only second-generation construction printer on the market. The gantry system is configured from multiple 2.5m modules in length, width and height.

The BOD2 works in three dimensions: The print head moves right and left along the X- axis, the X-axis moves forward and backward along the Y-axis, and the entire XY group moves up and down along the Z-columns. Thanks to this gantry principle, the printer can move to any position within the structure, pulling up both inner and outer walls layer by layer. Watch a video of the printing process here.

The 3D construction printer is certified to allow workers to remain in the print area during the printing process. This means manual work, such as laying empty conduits and connections, can be easily integrated into the printing process. A control unit allows workers to operate the BOD2 either via a web interface or touch screen.

Once the walls of a building are printed, the ceilings can be integrated. These are then built in the traditional way.

In addition to the Co-Presenting Sponsors, Cox and Lowe’s, many partners came together to make this happen including: Habitat for Humanity International, City of Tempe, PERI, 3D Construction, Candelaria Design, and The Ramsey Social Justice Foundation.

Learn more: habitatcaz.org/3D