FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO 3D PRINT A HOUSE?
The price varies depending on the technology used. Most printers on the market are extremely heavy and bulky, requiring high logistic costs, time for repositioning, and labor to assemble and disassemble the equipment. On top of it, the printing area is limited, printing speed is slow and quality is not much satisfying. There are plenty of added costs and downtime involved in simply operating and transporting these massive printers.
But it is not the story about Apis Cor. A revolutionary new design of our 3D printer was invented to reduce logistics costs and efficiently scale the construction 3D printing process. Rather than repurposing existing equipment, we’ve designed a unique robotics solution that features true mobility and transportability – this is how only Apis Cor technology today truly achieves the most efficient and cost-effective 3D printing construction process.
Construction costs further depend on the house design and size, wall envelope, and local requirements for reinforcement and insulation. While there are myriad cost considerations, using Apis Cor technology can result in cost savings of up to 37% for a finished house in the USA.
We highly recommend attending our online course "Fundamental of 3D Printing" to learn about the many details and nuances of our process. If you plan to invest in a business of 3D printed houses or just learn more about emerging technology, the online course is the must-have place to start.
HOW MUCH TIME DOES IT TAKE TO 3D PRINT A HOUSE?
The printing time depends on wall configuration and infill, as well as the size and design of the house. As a rough estimate, the wall structures for a typical 1 story single-family home (2,000 ft2) can be 3D printed by Frank within 40 hours of non-stop equipment working time.
ARE THE ROOF, WINDOWS AND OTHER FINISHES ALSO 3D PRINTED?
We use 3D printing technology to complete the most time and labor-intensive aspect of construction: the walls or shell of a house. The remaining parts of the house are built using traditional methods, without any changes, and seamlessly integrated with the new technology.
Like other specialty tools, 3D printers help us accomplish difficult tasks faster and easier. With their assistance, we’ve already taken a huge leap in changing the way we build houses.
WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU USE FOR 3D PRINTING?
The main components of 3D print material are the cement as a binding agent, sand as a filler, and additives typically accounting for 10-15% of the mix design. These additives play a crucial role in ensuring the material is suitable for 3D printing, meaning it’s extrudable, with a short flow time and fast setting time.
Mix design of 3D print material is a complex science. There’s no universal recipe for 3D print material because it can be achieved using many different additives in different ratios. Although the materials may look the same, they can have very different physical properties. With proper material science like we’ve implemented at Apis Cor, 3D print material can be extruded without compromising quality or durability. Our material is specially designed to print without the need for drying time — the first layers are sufficiently hardened to retain the load of the top layers. This means Apis Cor walls can be extruded continuously, without any wait time.
PLEASE NOTE that every company uses their own materials and we can only speak for the advanced features of our proprietary material. Please verify the corresponding material properties with each vendor.
WHAT ARE ADVANTAGES OF 3D PRINTING?
3D printing technology automates the most labor and material intensive part of house construction: the walls. As with any automation, this subsequently increases productivity and speeds up the process. Specific to Apis Cor, our technology enhances quality and produces repeatable results with machine accuracy. Altogether, this reduces labor costs, finishing costs and the risk of human errors, which typically require an investment of time and money to correct.
Owing to a critical shortage of skilled labor worldwide, 3D printing technology helps to narrow the housing deficit without taking a human’s job. As traditional methods can no longer keep up with demand, we’re putting smart robots to work for the benefit of affordable housing.
HOW TO INSTALL INSULATION AND ELECTRICAL?
When developing our technology at Apis Cor, we opted to structurally mimic the well-documented industry standard CMU walls. This allows us to apply the same techniques that are approved for CMU: reinforcement, insulation and MEP. Once the walls are printed, the MEP components are installed in the same fashion as CMU-built houses.
WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM SQ.FOOTAGE OF A HOUSE 3D PRINTED BY FRANK?
There is virtually no limit to the available print size. Using his continuous track mobile platform, Frank can reposition himself and continue printing from a new position until he runs out of land to print on.
Check out how we 3D printed a massive 2-story building in the Dubai desert. It’s currently the largest 3D-printed building on Earth.
WHAT IS THE HIGHEST TALL FRANK CAPABLE TO PRINT?
Frank is capable of printing a building with a height of 3.2 meters. However, thanks to his compact dimensions, Frank can be positioned on a riser to extend the print height. Currently, we limit our build height to 2 floors in order to comply with CMU codes. Just as in CMU construction, the entire house height is first printed and then the wood joists are installed.
HOW TO TRANSPORT FRANK?
Frank and Gary are mobile and compact robots that can be transported in a standard flatbed trailer hauled by a pickup truck. No special equipment, cranes or pallet jacks are required to load Frank and Gary on the trailer — they are self-movable thanks to their continuous track platforms.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Sure you do!
The technology is innovative and obviously never existed before so there are plenty of areas to be explored. At Apis Cor University we created a comprehensive course "Fundamentals of construction 3D printing technology". The course contains more than 15 sessions packed full of insights and after successfully completing the course you will have the opportunity to earn your Certificate of Completion!