3D printed home neighborhood to be built in Bangor

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 6:28 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - A few months ago, we brought you the story of the first bio-based, 3D printed home.

But, get ready.

Now, we bring you the story of the first neighborhood to feature such homes.

The University of Maine printed the first prototype in their on-campus facility in 2022.

Now they will be partnering with community action agency, Penquis

Penquis is receiving $3.3 million to support the project to build the first bio-based 3D printed neighborhood.

Penquis President and CEO, Kara Hay is thrilled with the partnership.

“We’re really excited! We know that in Maine we have a housing crisis both with affordability and access. We need solutions that are innovative and that can be affordable and quick,” said Hay.

The project is a joint effort in association with UMaine, MaineHousing, Maine’s congressional delegation, and the Key Bank Foundation.

The 3D printed homes are printed with materials such as wood residuals and bio-resin.

With the amount of materials in Maine, this neighborhood could be just the beginning of many more.

Dr. Habib Dagher, the founding executive director of the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center, said: “The goal is to make money 50% wood and 50% bio-resin. You may ask me, ‘Is there enough of these wood residuals in Maine to build homes?’ We did a survey, and we have about a million tons of what residuals every year in our region. A 600 square foot home, which is what we printed uses, 10 tons of of that material. So, you take a million tons divided by 10 tons every year, we have enough material to produce 100,000, 600 square foot homes.”

The creation of this neighborhood will also help UMaine polish-up the printing, shipping, and assembling process that goes into taking scraps of wood, and making them into complete home.

This will also be the path of the school’s Factory of the Future, where the houses will be built.

It will be a first-of-its-kind research and learning facility that will usher-in the future of digital manufacturing in true Dirigo spirit.

Hay added: “There’s something that happens around innovation, where even for those who have stigma against people that are struggling financially, the conversation the narrative changes when you pair innovation with the work. So one of the things we’re really excited about is being able to address stigma more directly.”