Construction 3D Printing

Historic town of Round Top receives first 3D printed buildings

The ‘Las Casitas’ rental units were printed by Hive3D Builders using the Robot Crawler from CyBe Construction

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Hive3D Builders, a Texas-based construction company, has 3D concrete printed the ‘Las Casitas’ rental units in the old town of Round Top, in Texas. The newest addition brings an interesting dynamism to the town – with the new-age buildings contrasting with the rest of the traditional architecture, including historic buildings, and antique and vintage stores, of the town.

The rental units were erected at The Halles, at Round Top, a well-known event venue. They will be owned and managed by Starred Sky Development, which will collaborate with the 3DCP company on future projects.

Historic town of Round Top receives first 3D printed ‘Las Casitas’ rental units from Hive3D Builders using CyBe Construction's Robot Crawler.

The company utilized CyBe Construction’s Robot Crawler, a portable 3D concrete printer that uses a robot arm for precise material placement. CyBe Construction has over 10 years of experience in developing additive manufacturing technology, with a focus on applying the technology for affordable and sustainable construction. By creating a building system around CyBe’s technology that prints many times faster and at a lower cost compared to some other 3D construction printers, Hive3D Builders was reportedly able to build Las Casitas with improved cost-effectiveness, as well as durability.

“We completed these houses at a cost to the client that was significantly less than it would have cost them to build similar structures using traditional methods,” said Timothy Lankau, CEO of Hive3D Builders. The buildings are also constructed with 10-inch-thick concrete walls – making them more durable and energy-efficient than framed structures.

Historic town of Round Top receives first 3D printed ‘Las Casitas’ rental units from Hive3D Builders using CyBe Construction's Robot Crawler.

The Las Casitas project consists of five small houses, built for short and long-term rental. The largest building is a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment, measuring an area of 800 square feet. The others – one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments and studios – are between 500 and 600 square feet. The first house already has its initial tenants – thanks to the novel experience offering. Rentals aren’t uncommon in the tourist town of Round Top, as the town serves as a venue for year-round events. Though having only 100 residents, the town has over 200 rentals listed on Airbnb only.

“With all of the ingenuity and resources we have, as a people, the fact that we can’t figure out a better way to build walls and roofs so that everyone has a nice house seems just baffling to me,” said Timothy Lankau. The company’s most recent project in Round Top confirmed the opportunity for 3D concrete printing to tackle the affordable housing crisis. The construction of the buildings was more cost-effective than that of structures built with traditional construction methods, and more environmentally friendly as well.

Historic town of Round Top receives first 3D printed ‘Las Casitas’ rental units from Hive3D Builders using CyBe Construction's Robot Crawler.

In addition to being durable, the 3D printed rental units were constructed with almost no carbon emissions. This was made possible by Eco Material Technologies’ proprietary pozzolanic cement replacement – boasting a CO2 reduction of up to 93% compared to traditional cement. By combining this sustainability with cost-effectiveness, 3D concrete printing holds a promise in solving the affordable housing crisis, not only in the US but on a worldwide scale.

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Composites AM 2024

746 composites AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core composites AM market generated over $785 million in 2023. Market expected to grow to $7.8 billion by 2033 at 25.8% CAGR. This new...

Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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