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See what it’s like living inside a 3D-printed 600-square-foot tiny home in Maine made of recyclable materials

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University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

  • The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center 3D printed a 600-square-foot tiny home.
  • ASCC encapsulated wood waste from local sawmills in a bio-resin to create a durable printing material.
  • Take a look around the home’s bathroom, living room, bedroom, and kitchen.
Maine is now home to one of the country’s newest 3D-printed homes.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But unlike other printed units, this 600-square-foot tiny home is fully recyclable.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Homes both big and small built using concrete and 3D printers have been popping up around the world at an increasing rate.The 3D printed home among trees and a blue sky.

3DCP Group

Source: Insider

The tech is scaling rapidly as more companies enter the construction-tech space.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But only a handful of startups and people are taking an even more novel approach to this new construction method by printing with non-concrete materials.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And surprisingly, a university is one of them.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Say goodbye to concrete mixes and hello to wood residuals and bio-resins.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

The University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center has taken a new approach to the tech by using a proprietary bio-based material to print the floors, walls, and roof of a 600-square-foot home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And if it wanted to, ASCC says it could fully recycle the home’s printed components.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

“We’re looking at the ability to 100% recycle the home materials five times and we’re doing testing right now to see what happens every time you recycle it,” Habib Dagher told Insider.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Dagher — ASCC’s founding executive director and principal investigator of this project — hopes this home is proof that the tech could help sustainably alleviate our country’s ongoing affordable housing crisis.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Instead of a traditional concrete mix, ASCC uses bio-resins to encapsulate wood residuals from local sawmills …Lumber prices sawmill US logs woodLumber prices plummeted in June.

Carolyn Cole/Getty Images

… creating a durable printing material that could be immune to supply chain fluctuations while a giving second life to what would otherwise be wood waste.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And the supply is nearly as endless as the current demand: Dagher believes the state produces enough wood waste to make 100,000 homes annually.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

ASCC has spent the last 20 years developing and testing this unique bio material.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center’s bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

So when the housing crisis hit, construction costs started skyrocketing, and materials and labor became harder to access, the team wanted to see if they could use it to print homes.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

“We’ve been looking for ways to reduce the cost [of building], increase [housing] availability, and build houses that are more sustainable over the long run,” Dagher told Insider.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Many advocates of 3D printers believe the tech has major benefits over traditional construction.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Because the printer is programmed to be precise, there was almost no construction waste and less physical labor required to build this tiny home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And printers work faster than humans, increasing construction speeds with the potential of slashing costs as this tech continues to become more common.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

These are certainly big benefits at a time when Maine is facing an “unsustainable” affordable housing crisis, Dagher said.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

So unsurprisingly, this home could serve as an innovative way to alleviate said problems.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But the home doesn’t look as futuristic as you might expect.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

The printed walls and ceiling look layered as seen below, a signature of the 3D printer.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

By using this tech, the team was able to curve the home’s walls into the ceiling.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And instead of the drab grey-toned walls common in concrete printed homes, these walls look more wood-toned.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Besides its unique appearance, the 600-square-foot unit has the same functions as any traditional home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

There’s a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom …University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

… all lined with modern appliances.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And all of these rooms look as luxurious as any contemporary traditionally built home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Many big 3D printing construction projects happen on-site.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But this home was instead prefabricated and printed off-site using ASCC’s proprietary printer, which Dagher says is the world’s largest polymer 3D printer.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And it wasn’t printed in one piece.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Instead, the home is made up of four approximately 200-square-foot modules.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

These four insulated and pre-wired pieces were then moved to an on-site concrete foundation using a flatbed truck.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

It only took half a day, a crane, bolts, and connectors to assemble the four modules into a home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And the electrician spent an additional two hours powering the unit.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

Now, it’s a fully functioning house with a unique construction backstory.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

The team is now collecting data on its performance to determine what could be improved in the next printed home.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

The goal is to produce one of these units in about 48 hours.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But this home took about 10 times longer, Dagher said.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

The team is now designing a factory to grow the production of these recyclable homes.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

And it has already raised over $80 million to build this manufacturing space.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

So if the team’s future plans come to fruition, you could see a full neighborhood of recycled homes sooner than you’d think.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

But that’s not to say concrete homes don’t have their place in the future. After all, the unifying goal is to grow housing production.University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

“We’re in a crisis mode right now,” Dagher said. “Anything we can do to increase the output of homes, whether it’s concrete or bio-based 3D printing or other technologies, is a good thing.”University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center's bio-based 3D printed tiny home.

University of Maine

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