The first permitted 3D-printed house is now for sale in New York state

Originally published at: The first permitted 3D-printed house is now for sale in New York state | Boing Boing


How does a house that is built for $6000 in materials jump to $300,000 after built. I’m sure a lot of it is land/location (e.g. New York) and some to labor and the tech, but how does that account for the 50x price difference?


…and increase profits


Perhaps those are just the direct costs? And they maybe have quite a lot of indirect costs?

My question is are they locked into that one company for any repairs, maintenance, and upgrades?


I’d say all the stuff you mentioned - labor, equipment & know-how, presumably they want to make money back on R&D, plus the land itself. And whatever profit they think they can reasonably take. Considering the quote “about half of the average new home cost in the area”, it seems fairly reasonable. Look at material cost is not a great way to judge certain things - cars & homes being good examples.


Is all tech innovation fuelled by a need to not hire people?


Unless that “more” includes insulation, windows, doors, all eletrical wiring, plumbing, sinks, cabinetry, and HVAC system, the house is hardly built. Just partially built.
ETA: this is cool, I admit. Just not a completed house


Those are simply material costs, and don’t take into consideration the the cost of the machinery, computer equipment, software, engineers, laborers, etc.

The real question here is why we’re using this brand new technology to build facsimiles of stick-built ranch-style homes. It’s a real stab in the heart to see this.


My guess is that they wanted to use this as a proof of concept, and that meant making a house that could sell and that someone would want to live in. If they wanted to make an Escherian house they could succeed at building (something close to) it, but it would be a commercial failure.

Later, once this technology is accepted as a standard way to make a house, it will almost certainly be used to make more elaborate and/or unusual buildings.

This technology has to crawl before it can run.


I wonder if that “$6000 material cost” is actually just the 3D-printed concrete costs. Windows, wiring, plumbing, cabinets, etc. would help explain the rest of the markup.


Based on the photo, an actual driveway into the garage is not included.


And permits. Permits get expensive.

I do, however, have questions about the longevity and durability of the foundation if they didn’t take time to excavate. And unless they put down the lawn after they printed, they must have done a remarkable precise excavation as it runs up right to the edge. Or they extruded it on top of live vegetation. That should go well.

While this is a neat concept, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be the guinea pigs who buy it.


Blech. With all the savings, maybe next time they can hire an architect.


Who keeps cars in a garage? Where would I put all the rusty old bikes, broken appliances, rotten lawn furniture and half-empty tins of paint?


I agree with you. Most people, I’ve found, like vanilla. This ordinary looking home is the best way to sell the idea. As you say, the beauty of 3D printing is that it would be relatively easy for more interesting designs to be built less expensively (presumably). I hope this idea catches on.

Sometimes it’s the opposite… Honda made a civic hybrid that looked exactly like a regular civic. Then Toyota came along with the spaceship-looking Prius and it turns out people in that market didn’t want vanilla.

  1. A lot of that is going to be land costs, which are completely independent of what’s built on the land. I live in a relatively inexpensive suburb of Boston (which has less ridiculous housing prices than most of Long Island) and when I had my house appraised before I bought it, amore than half of the purchase price was the land value (about 200k for <1/4 acre in 2014). I would assume the $300k number is 1/2 to 2/3 land value, with most of the rest going to labor, and then smaller amounts to equipment and permitting costs. And even if the build time is short, between permitting and selling you’re talking about locking up all that money for probably at least the better part of a year, which means you need to generate enough return on investment for that to be worth it as opposed to just saving and investing the same money elsewhere.
  1. The house was not entirely 3D printed. The walls were, sure, but it still needed plumbing, electric, flooring, roofing, insulation and sealing (I hope), counters and finishes, and so on, installed the normal way.

  2. Houses sell at market price, which is not based on cost. The builders selling it cheaper would just mean the price gets bid up, and/or the first buyers quickly re-sell it at a huge markup. Ideally this will show builders in the area and elsewhere that they can greatly increase their margins and productivity, which should eventually lead to more, better, and cheaper housing (IF local zoning boards permit it, which given Long Island’s history and politics seems unlikely).


Not to mention the roof + gutters + siding + insulation. It’s definitely not 100% 3D printed.

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I’m wondering a bit how the plumbing, electrical, and ventilation work in this house. Does the 3D printing leave cavities so you can pull wires and pipes to the right spot? Does it pause at multiple times in the print job to let someone lay down their stuff and then print over it? Does the house get rebar added in the build process or is it just concrete?

I do note that this was built in a tectonicly safe area. All concrete construction is notorious for being a deathtrap in earthquakes.


Well, yes. It’s essentially a continuation of the industrial revolution. Which is why millions of us can presently have cushy office jobs instead of plowing the fields as 90% of the labor force was doing at the turn of the 20th century. You might call the combine harvester (invented over a century ago) a device designed to do away with hiring crop pickers – and you’d probably be right. But nobody seems to particularly miss walking the fields with a scythe in hand in retrospect.

We’ve been automating away menial labor for over a century, and while there have been some drawbacks, on the balance it has dramatically improved conditions for (first world) workers in the long run.