Startup wants to 3D-print livable starter homes

Autonomous Robotic Construction System (ARCS), a 3D-printing rig designed by S-Squared Construction that extrudes concrete to construct homes.

S-Squared claims its Autonomous Robotic Construction System
(ARCS) can build a home in just over 30 hours

A group of friends on the south shore of Long Island, New York,
working under the name S-Squared, think they can revolutionize the
way that homes are built, using a self-made 3D printing rig that
they claim can lay down a home in a little more than 30 hours.

“This will be the first time a real house is going to be built
with 3D printing,” says Bob Smith, an S-Squared co-founder.
“Everyone else has put up sheds.”

In March, S-Squared plans to
erect a demonstration home on the ground of Suffolk Cement, in
nearby Calverton. Using their proprietary Autonomous Robotic
Construction System (ARCS), a 3D-printing rig that extrudes
concrete to construct homes, commercial buildings, and even
bridges, the company plans to construct a 1,490-square-foot,
two-bedroom home later this year and obtain a certificate of
occupancy.

The promised sale price—under $200,000, due to the reduction
in manpower and labor costs—would be a game-changer for an
expensive market such as Long Island. It would also be a new entry
into the wide field of firms seeking to perfect and commercialize
the process of
mass-producing homes using 3D printing
. At a time when
venture capital-backed constructions startups
raised more than
a billion dollars last year in a race to make the building industry
more efficient, a small, mostly self-funded startup from Long
Island with 13 employees stands out.

“We are looking to be a disruptor,” says Smith. “But
we’re not the class clowns. We’re just the ones who would keep
asking the teacher, ‘why does it have to be that way?’”


Bob Smith, a co-founder of S-Squared, in front of the ARCS machine.

S-Squared originated four years ago when a group of friends in
the town of Patchogue became frustrated with the restrictions and
regulations around building. Tired of the standard litany of delays
and permitting, they joked with an inspector that they would build
a machine that builds homes, just tell us what can get approved and
it’ll spit it out.

The friends pooled their resources and savings to develop their
own 3D-printing technology, with Mario Szczepanski, an engineer,
and Bob Smith, the former owner of an auto body store, designing their own versions of popular
machines made by firms like
Makerbot
. After their first attempt at a printer that could
create large-scale structures, the AFP (“awesome f*cking
printer”) worked, and they decided to scale up. Smith says the
current iteration of the ARC machine, which has an auger to allow
for more custom designs, uses fiber mesh instead of rebar, meaning
nobody needs to be onsite to add materials to the machine-laid
concrete walls.

Other companies have printed homes and structures, including

Apis
, a Russian firm that printed a 400-square-foot tiny home
last year that cost just over $10,000, as well as Tennessee-based

Branch Technology.
But none of the completed models have built
full-size homes in the U.S. approved for occupancy.

Smith says the group isn’t your typical collection of
innovators or entrepreneurs. Nobody is a career inventor, they’re
simply trying to make a long, painful process easier and more
affordable.

“Evolution in the industry is happening,” says Smith.

Source: FS – All – Architecture 10
Startup wants to 3D-print livable starter homes