Company to build 200 3D printed homes in southwest Virginia

Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 8:17 PM EDT
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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ) - If 3D printing is the future of home construction, Pulaski is now at the heart of this emerging trend.

Friday afternoon, a crowd gathered a few blocks from Calfee Park, and just across the street from the corner lot where the first two of 200 homes will soon be under construction.

“We are announcing today, the biggest 3D printed project in the world,” said Zachary Mannheimer, Founder and CEO of Alquist 3D, “200 3D-printed homes throughout Virginia over the next four to five years.”

Extruded concrete is cheaper than conventional construction. And as Michael Woods, the CEO of equipment maker Black Buffalo 3D explained, it’s a whole lot faster.

“We’re printing right now at roughly ten inches a second,” Woods told WDBJ7.“That means that a thousand-square-foot home with ten-foot walls could be printed in 22 hours. Think about that. Two days. Two ten-hour shifts. Your house is done.”

The process will also replace some workers, but Mannheimer says 3D printing will also offer new opportunities.

“There’s a fear there, because you’re replacing human jobs with robots. And that’s true. There’s no way around that,” Mannheimer said. “But we believe we can create far more jobs. And we have a partnership with Virginia Tech where we’re creating the first-ever 3D printing concrete curriculum in the country.”

Alquist says the price of these 3D-printed homes should range from $175,000 to $350,000, depending on size and location.

And with major employers including Volvo Trucks and James Hardie expanding, Pulaski Mayor Shannon Collins said 3D printed homes could help to address a shortage of affordable housing, and showcase the area.

“I look at Pulaski as a Phoenix,” Collins said in an interview. “We’ve been down so long. And now is our time to shine.”

The 200 homes that Alquist is planning to build in southwest Virginia will include up to 14 in the Roanoke area, with construction scheduled to begin there in the fall.

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