PRESCOTT, AZ — The era of the 3-D printed home is upon us, and one Arizona college is hoping to help build the workforce needed to make it sustainable.
“We’re not even calling them affordable homes, we’re calling them attainable,” said John Morgan with Yavapai College.
Morgan says the housing squeeze has been felt across the country and is in desperate need of a solution.
The college near Prescott is now betting on a new technology revolutionizing the way homes are built during a time when labor and material shortages are reaching record levels.
“We think it’s a juggernaut. It’s certainly been around in Europe for a few years and in China. And now all of a sudden, the United States’ interest has peaked, and it is happening fast, and so we recognize there’s going to be a need for trained workers in this,” said Morgan.
This semester, John and his colleague Matt Mintzmyer are launching the nation’s first college course that will focus on 3-D printing homes. The process will use what looks like a large mechanical pipet that is used to layer concrete in the shape of a home in a matter of weeks.
“We’re not just teaching people how to 3-D print homes, we’re also teaching them how to operate the machinery and also one of the big problems is troubleshooting, and what happens when the equipment goes down,” Mintzmyer explained. “So, we’re going to train them about how to fix equipment, repair equipment, what all the different components do, all the way down to the circuitry and how to fix that.”
The complex machines will not only require building experience, but coding and mathematics.
A curriculum is expected to splinter into a number of different job opportunities for students as the process takes hold across the country.
“It was two-fold. We wanted to completely revitalize the program with something to entice the younger and new generation to come to construction, and then also we have got these housing costs stabilized, because for working-class folks, it’s becoming unattainable,” said Morgan.
They hope the program will be able to do both; considering the average home currently takes around a year to complete, compare that to less than four months for a printed home at a significantly lower cost.
“The construction industry is one of the largest industries in the world, this is a chance to revolutionize it,” said Morgan.
Anyone interested can enroll in the 3-D home printing class here.