RedWorks CEO, Keegan Kirkpatrick, shares RedWorks' vision for the future of 3D Printed construction with Elizabeth Fernandez and the SparkDialogue Podcast. Listen and learn how our origins as in the NASA Centennial Challenge informed our approach to construction technology, and how we see that technology benefiting humanity for the long term.
Check out our 4th Quarter newsletter— Our founders celebrate 3 years since our debut at the New York Maker Faire, CRG Companies and Moses Hacmon show their support for the future of construction and 3D Printing and we prepare to start breaking stuff!
Construction has historically been an industry seen as being in confrontation with nature. Builders and developers act like an erosive force, destroying the natural beauty of a potential build site for the sake of extending the human environment.
Sustainability advocates argue that construction and architecture should work in concert with nature, benefiting and collaborating with the natural beauty of the build-site, and working to do the least to disturb the ecosystem.
This confrontation has persisted and in general the most sustainable projects have been able to achieve has been to not add as much CO2 to the atmosphere as other buildings after they’re built. Architect Moses Hacmon wants to change all that with an ambitious project in Malibu, California.
On an rugged hillside overlooking the Malibu Pier and the endless blue waters of the Pacific, sits 150 acres of land that will one day be home to Sweetwater Park. At present, this land is accessible only by an old Jeep trail that snakes its way to the Santa Monica Mountains, and is home to little more than the local lizards. Someday soon, however, it will feature five single family homes; all designed with features that will blend the properties into the surrounding hillside.
This is a conscious choice by the project’s director, Moses Hacmon, who’s goal has been to not only minimize the disruption of the local environment, but to create homes that become a part of that environment. To that end Sweetwater Park will make use of RedWorks’ revolutionary on-site 3D printing technology to bring its revolutionary approach to architecture to fruition. RedWorks 3D Printers are capable of taking any source of unprocessed, inorganic dirt or sand and printing it into solid rock using a unique heating process, like a more extreme version of the plastic 3D printers filling up the offices of universities and startups.
Under normal circumstances, if a builder wanted to create a project like Sweetwater Park, it would involve importing 100% of the materials to build it, and exporting the dirt and dust excavated during construction. The end result being a lot of loud, diesel burning trucks moving up and down the hillside through residential neighborhoods all hours of the day, kicking up dust and debris, and generally leaving the construction site and surrounding area with worse air quality and the environment damaged.
Moses Hacmon and his team are looking to change that by using the excavated material of the site to 3D Print retaining walls, stone facings, and pavers that would otherwise need to be imported to site. This means that Sweetwater Park will not move one shovelful of dirt off-site, and make a sizable portion of its construction material with that same dirt. For locals, this will mean fewer vehicles moving material to site and no vehicles to move excavated dirt off-site, reducing the impact on air quality, limiting noise pollution, and reducing the number of delays by keeping an important piece of the supply chain limited to the build-site.
This project represents a new form of construction that goes beyond traditional notions of sustainability and transforms the way we actually think about building. Where building a home has always been a resource intense, highly disruptive process, Sweetwater Park will be one that tries to limit the supply chain as much as possible, and prioritizes the creation of human habitats that are enhanced by and help preserve their natural surroundings.
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On October 30th, RedWorks CEO Keegan Kirkpatrick will be on the Additive Manufacturing panel for MIT Lincoln Lab's Advanced Prototype Engineering Technology Symposium (APETS) to discuss the future of 3D Printing for construction, and the broader trends facing the industry.
Join us at the Mars City Design Award Ceremony and celebrate the winning ideas of 2018 Mars City Design Challenges. Meet the teams, see the future of construction and design, and learn more about upcoming projects between RedWorks and MCD.
RedWorks will be presenting at the 2018 International Space Station Research and Development Conference! Our team began to create innovations in the NASA Habitat Challenge, and we're excited to continue to be involved in the community of innovators NASA has fostered to address challenge on Earth and in Space.
If you're looking to attend, ISSRDC will be held July 23–26 at the Marriott Marquis, located at 780 Mission St., in San Francisco, California. RedWorks will be presenting on July 25th.
Hope to see you there!
RedWorks is looking for skilled engineers to join our team. We're looking for people experienced in electrical engineer and induction heating technologies, motivated to complete challenging new tasks, and driven to make their mark developing game changing technology. In the startup environment of RedWorks, you'll be play an important role designing, fabricating and assembling 3D printing products for the construction industry. This is an early role, one with room to grow and take on new challenges and responsibilities as the company's trajectory advances to change the face of construction manufacturing.
An electrical engineer with RedWorks is responsible for working in a consultative fashion with the founders to address electrical engineering challenges in the development of additive manufacturing technologies and products.
Education and Experience
Building enough affordable housing is an ongoing struggle in many cities throughout the US. While there are numerous factors at play that work to increase the cost of housing, the cost of constructing new homes is a significant piece of the puzzle that can keep new affordable housing from being built in the first place.
However, if home building costs could somehow be reduced significantly, it would stand to reason that these savings could make affordable housing more viable for developers, charities, and local governments to implement.
Why Is Building so Expensive?
In traditional building, materials must be sourced, created and/or fabricated, then transported to a building site. Once there, they are laboriously assembled. For instance, in the case of cement blocks, the "ingredients" must first be first transported to a manufacturer. There, in massive facilities, they are made into the cinder blocks. Lastly, those heavy blocks are transported to the building site.
Once the cement blocks arrive at a site, they must be built into walls for houses. This and other costs can add up quickly. Pouring a cement slab costs around $5 per foot. Building the shell, which is typically contains a wood frame with sheathing for doors, windows, roofing and other features, costs around $20 to $30 per foot. Professional masonry construction workers must then build the homes using the materials delivered to the site. Since there are so many different construction materials involved, along with the labor costs to put it all together, building costs can and have become quite expensive. These costs ultimately must transfer to the buyer of a building if the developer wants to turn a profit.
3D Printing Cuts Transportation Costs
When masonry is 3D printed on-site, there is no need to transport bulky building materials to a building site. This means less time spent transporting materials and far lower fuel costs, and eliminates costs related to mining and factory processes. Equipment like RedWorks' manufacturing technology allows builders to make masonry parts entirely on-site. Builders can often use local resources including sand, dirt and dust to create the housing materials that are needed to create the different parts or walls of a home.
Cutting Labor Costs and Delays
Labor is expensive, especially masonry professionals or wood framers that are involved in building a traditional home. Instead of a process that takes weeks or months due to unexpected delays often caused by shipping, 3D printing can be completed on-site to the correct specifications in a few hours or days.
Cutting Construction Waste
Construction waste is a serious concern in traditional home building. This waste can include a range of materials, including:
Costs associated with building add up quickly, and buyers - whoever they are - eventually have to foot the bill. By finding avenues to streamline the construction process, more affordable housing can be constructed while still turning a profit. In addition, organizations, governments, and charities that look to foot the bill to create affordable housing may be able to purchase more with their budgets. While 3D printing might still seem alien to many, its potential benefits are undeniable - and that's something worth sharing.
Preston Guyton is a native of the Grand Strand and Broker in Charge/Managing Partner of CRG Companies.
"RedWorks’ vision for efficient 3D building materials is so exciting, it gets me thinking how quickly the way the world builds affordable and multi-purpose homes will change. Selfishly, I'm looking forward to the home my wife and I will build using RedWorks as we retire and downsize. The options and affordability will be amazingly useful."
-Hank Stringer, Stringer Executive Search
Hank’s desire to downsize is becoming a common sentiment among people with kids out of the house and retirement approaching. A large portion of the population now finds themselves with homes that are no longer suited to their needs. When we speak to people in this position we always hear about how a home for 2.3 kids has become an expensive empty shell once they’re gone, with too much space and too much upkeep. Hank and others have described a desire among people their age to not only downsize, but to find a more practical and desirable home. “Tiny houses,” while more manageable, have drawbacks in that their spartan designs and limited footprints prevent them from taking advantage of existing utilities. Larger singlewide trailer homes don’t have the drawbacks of tiny-homes, but their standard designs aren’t desirable to homeowners looking to downsize. What is needed is a way to build homes that offer the low cost and practicality of a trailer home, with the attractive features of a tiny home. Furthermore, this solution must not only be used to build single properties, but communities that have the infrastructure to support their residents with the utility conveniences of full sized homes. Too often downsizing becomes a burden, as homeowners must either accept the high cost of traditionally built homes, communities with poorer infrastructure than they’re used to, or lonely plots without the community older homeowners desire.
Our team is already working to make construction less costly and more adaptable by giving builders the power to make materials on-site, and this capability will be essential to making downsizing more affordable and practical. On-site 3d printing will also enable builders to create infrastructure more cheaply as well. The same dirt excavated to build walls, foundations, and roofing, can also be used to build drainage systems, sidewalks, and roads. Developers will have the means to build the kinds of communities older homeowners want, at a cost that won’t break the bank for builders, or make smaller homes too expensive for prospective buyers to downsize in the first place. We see our technology helping to create a new generation of villages and hamlets, literally from the ground up, where people like Hank can settle into retirement among friends without having to sacrifice the comfort and convenience of traditional suburban communities.
Hank’s story is one of countless told by Americans nearing retirement, and construction needs to adapt to not only keep costs down but to make sure that downsizing doesn’t mean reducing quality of life. As members of the construction industry, we must work to keep innovating to lower costs down while maintaining quality as more people look to enter their golden years in a homes built for their needs.