Wave header image graphic banner
Public Radio For Eastern North Carolina 89.3 WTEB New Bern 88.5 WZNB New Bern 91.5 WBJD Atlantic Beach 90.3 WKNS Kinston 88.1 W201AO Greenville 88.5 WHYC Swan Quarter
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

University of Maine reveals first 100% bio-based 3D printed home

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

This next story takes us to Maine, where a very old building material is getting a new application.

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

The old material is wood. The new application is 3D printing. Researchers say they learned how to make a 3D-printed house out of bits of wood.

INSKEEP: 3D-printed homes are seen as a source of cheap housing. A single giant machine assembles a house layer by layer, normally out of concrete. Habib Dagher, of the university's Advanced Structures and Composites Center, says Maine's forest products industry can provide a different material.

HABIB DAGHER: There is roughly 1 million tons per year of material in our sawmills that could be used. And to print the home, we need about 10 tons.

INSKEEP: Yeah, they're using, like, waste material. This wood house is fully recyclable.

DAGHER: Two-hundred years from now, our grandchildren don't want the house anymore. We can grind it up, put it back into the printer and print something else with it.

MARTÍNEZ: Dagher says the printing process is faster than building a conventional home.

DAGHER: Our goal here is when we scale up the process, is to be able to print a home every 48 hours.

INSKEEP: And right now, they're putting their product to a test.

DAGHER: The house that we have outside right now is going to go through a good old Maine winter.

MARTÍNEZ: Some people in Maine would like to help.

DAGHER: We've had a lot of people already ask to sleep in it for the night. We've had people suggest that we Airbnb it.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Airbnb. Researchers hope this technology could reduce homebuilding costs in the future.

(SOUNDBITE OF STANDARDS' "8BIT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.