3D Home Printer to Build 72 Residences for National Homebuilder
Three-dimensional printing and robotics startup Diamond Age is deploying its “Factory-in-the-Field” homebuilding system in a commercial capacity for the first time after reaching an agreement with national homebuilder Century Communities to construct 72 homes.
Diamond Age’s automated 3D printer is based around a portable gantry system that encompasses the entire foundation of a home site. An end-of-arm robotic tool suspended from the structure moves around the concrete pad, “printing” the house’s exterior and interior walls with composite materials.
“The opportunity to showcase our technology in a meaningful way is an incredible vote of confidence in us and the production-housing industry’s recognition that innovation can help solve the massive labor shortage that’s been plaguing the entire construction industry for more than a decade,” Diamond Age co-founder and CEO Jack Oslan said. “We are proud to be at the forefront of creating a new era of construction jobs that will focus more on the technology operation and finishing side of homebuilding and replace much of the backbreaking portion of home construction as we know it today.”
The automation system is deployed in seven-unit “cohorts” capable of building several homes at once; in a year, a cohort can build an estimated 250 homes, according to Diamond Age. The system can offset 55% of the manual labor needed to build a new home, reducing the construction cycle from nine months to 30 days, the company says.
The platform is “material and technology agnostic,” meaning it can integrate new materials and mechatronics into its work to deliver continual improvements throughout the home-construction process, Diamond Age says. The company says its patented composite walls result in high-quality homes that are quieter and more energy-efficient than traditional wood-framed structures.
The Century agreement calls for the delivery of 72 homes in Diamond Age’s hometown of Phoenix. The 2,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath residences will be built under the homebuilder’s Century Complete brand and are Century’s first use of 3D printing for home construction.
“We are a leader in providing More Home, Less Money to homebuyers nationwide and are constantly evaluating building technologies that help us deliver high-quality homes to our customers at an attainable price,” Century Executive Vice President of National Operations Genji Nakata said. “The Diamond Age team has demonstrated its ability to scale its technology roadmap as well as validate the performance of its composite wall system.”
The Century contract comes on the heels of another milestone for Diamond Age. Four days before the deal, the full-stack robotics startup announced a $50 million Series A fundraising round led by venture-capital firm Prime Movers Lab. Other participants included seed investors Alpaca VC, Dolby Family Ventures, Timber Grove Ventures and Gaingels, who were joined by Signia Venture Partners. Notably, 20% of the investment was made up of production homebuilders and land developers.