A startup is using recycled plastic to 3D print prefab tiny homes with prices starting at $25,000 — see inside
The ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

  • Los Angeles-based startup Azure is using recycled plastic to 3D print prefab homes.

  • The startup is now selling several models ranging from a backyard studio to a two-bedroom ADU.

  • Azure says it can build homes 70% faster and 30% cheaper than “traditional home construction methods.”

Why “reduce, reuse, recycle” when you can just turn your plastic waste into homes?

A worker stands in front of a pile of plastic waste as machinery processes it at a facility in Japan.

A worker stands in front of a pile of plastic waste as machinery processes it at a facility in Japan.Makiko Tanigawa/Getty Images

This may sound like a far-fetched idea, but that’s exactly what one 3D printing home construction startup in Los Angeles is trying to do.

People next to the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

In April, Azure unveiled what it called the world’s first 3D printed “backyard studio” made with recycled plastic materials.

A ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

Source: Azure

And its plastic-printed studios and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are now available for preorder as the startup prepares to ramp up its production line in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles.

A printer with wires.

Azure Printed Homes

Most 3D printing home builders currently use a form of concrete to create their homes, whether it be a proprietary mix or pure concrete.

The walls of a 3D printed home among a construction site.

3DCP Group

Source: Insider, Insider 

But Azure is saying goodbye to this drab grey look by taking a more sustainable approach …

A 3D printed ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

… giving a second life to plastic once destined for landfills or incineration.

A tiny home with fitness equipment

Azure Printed Homes

Over 60% of Azure’s printing material will use the inherently waterproof plastic polymer often found in plastic bottles and packaging for food, according to the startup.

A tiny home next to quotes from the CEO

Azure Printed Homes

Source: Azure

It’s currently working with three suppliers to source “post-industrial plastic” for its printing mix, Ross Maguire, who cofounded Azure to make construction more efficient and sustainable, told Insider.

Two children sitting on the floor

Azure Printed Homes

But in the future, the goal is to use post-consumer plastic: “Our supply chain should never be short in our lifetime,” he said.

person throws water bottles in a plastic bin

A volunteer with Dominion Tabernacle Ministries prepares cold water bottles to hand out in Dallas, Texas on June 12, 2022.Shelby Tauber/Reuters

Even without the use of recycled plastic, the nascent 3D printing homebuilding industry has already been heralded as a more sustainable and efficient construction method.

A 3D printer printing concrete onto a wall. A person is kneeling next to the printer.

Alquist

According to its biggest proponents, by using printers instead of people, homes can be built more efficiently using less waste, materials, and time.

3d house Germany

Mense-Korte

Source: Insider

And Azure will be no different: The startup says it can build homes 70% faster and 30% cheaper than “traditional home construction methods” by 3D printing the floor, roof, and walls of its models inside its factory.

People next to the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

Source: Azure

And with the help of prefabrication, before a unit leaves Azure’s 10,000-square-foot factory in Los Angeles, 99% of its finishes will be complete, Maguire said.

The ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

So when it arrives on site via a flatbed truck, the only necessary on-site work will be to connect the home to its foundation and utilities.

An empty tiny home on a patch of grass

Azure Printed Homes

Azure currently has several customizable models ranging from small studios to 900-square-foot two-bedroom ADUs.

A 3D printed ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

And these builds are now available for pre-order to be delivered as soon as early November.

A person next to the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

But no matter the model or size, these units will all be prefabricated and built using connectable modules that can each be printed in under 24 hours.

People next to the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

The smallest option is the futuristic-looking 120-square-foot Sky Backyard Studio, a $24,900 single-room unit for rooms like a backyard office or gym.

A tiny home with fitness equipment

Azure Printed Homes

The floor and ceiling are connected by a flowing wall with curved corners, a trademark of 3D printers. Either side of the unit is then encased with glass walls, giving the studio a clean and futuristic look.

A 3D printed ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

Given its smaller size, these studios can be printed within day one, wired by day two, insulated by day three, and then delivered on-site in two weeks, Maguire told Insider.

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass. There's a desk inside.

Azure Printed Homes

But if you’re looking for something more substantial, Azure also prints ADUs, which skyrocketed in popularity in 2020.

A 3D printed ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

ADUs extend the square footage of the main home by serving as a backyard guest home or Airbnb.

The ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

And Azure’s comes in multiple sizes: a studio, one-bedroom, or two-bedroom.

The ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

These units range from 180 square feet to 900 square feet…

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass with palm trees

Azure Printed Homes

… although the smallest $39,900 option already has a three-month waitlist, according to local news reports.

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass with palm trees. There's a crane in the back

Azure Printed Homes

Source: Spectrum News 1 

Inside, there are spaces like a bedroom, living room, bathroom, and even a laundry room in the larger builds.

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass. There's furniture inside d inside.

Azure Printed Homes

And unlike the backyard studio, it’s currently available in two designs.

A tiny home at night in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

The smaller ADU has a more traditional appearance with a pointed roof (shown below), while the size up features the same futuristic aesthetic as the backyard studio.

The ADU in a backyard

Azure Printed Homes

When the startup debuted the former look, it saw a “big rush of preorders,” Maguire told Insider.

Printed parts of the tiny home. The walls have a layered look synonymous with 3D printing

Azure Printed Homes

And moving forward, he believes the company will sell more of this traditional-passing ADU.

Printed parts of the tiny home. The walls have a layered look synonymous with 3D printing

Azure Printed Homes

Azure has only printed one model so far, although it does have another in the works.

A printer with wires mounted on an orange crane

Azure Printed Homes

But next month, the startup will receive the last bits of equipment it needs to begin rolling out the production line …

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass with palm trees. There's a crane in the back moving another unit

Azure Printed Homes

… which should help address its “big backlog of orders” that has already been overloading its one printer, Maguire said.

The side of a 3D printed tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

But given the size of its backlog, one printer isn’t enough: Azure is now running a crowdfunding campaign and is in discussions with venture capitalists to purchase a second or third printer …

The 3D printed walls of a tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

… which means this is just the start for the Los Angeles startup with lofty real estate goals.

The ADU in a backyard on a patch of grass. There's a desk inside.

Azure Printed Homes

In December, Azure will unveil a community of 14 3D printed prefabricated homes in California in partnership with a real estate development company.

Printed parts of the tiny home. The walls have a layered look synonymous with 3D printing

Azure Printed Homes

And in 2024, the startup will begin rolling out larger homes.

A tiny home on a patch of grass with glass trimmings.

Azure Printed Homes

Further down the line, Azure may also explore printing housing for the unhoused or for overseas clients …

Two people inside a tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

… and in the future, if the company decides to expand, you could find a pop-up-like Azure production line near you.

Printed parts of the tiny home. The walls have a layered look synonymous with 3D printing

Azure Printed Homes

“3D printing is a more efficient way of building and it should only get better as we develop the processes, technology, and materials further,” Maguire said. “I can only see it becoming more and more prominent in [construction] as we move forward.”

People next to the tiny home

Azure Printed Homes

Read the original article on Business Insider

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