by Blake Herzog
Prescott’s Yavapai College has become the first community college in the country to offer a course in 3D home printing, launching the class in January for anyone interested in learning about the “disruptive” construction industry technology.
The class, 250CBT, is being offered through YC’s School of Career and Technical Education at the Chino Valley campus, where students currently are building a proof of concept.
The college already offers several other classes in industrial 3D printing applications as well as a certificate program.
Matt Mintzmeyer, YC director of Aerospace Science and 3D Printing, says the class is for anyone wanting to learn more about the process, in which a massive printer with a tank loaded with concrete, mortar or another heated building material squeezes it through a nozzle to “print” layers, stacking them on top of each other until reaching the desired foundation or wall height.
“We teach you the basics of different trades, as well as 3D printing and how to bring it all together in one correlative workflow, with advancing technology,” he says. Space is limited to 12 students.
Working alongside local company WePrintHomes.com, this semester’s students have printed the school’s “YC” logo out of sand to be included as a landscape feature on the campus, integrating plumbing vents, water supply lines and fixtures and electrical wiring. Ag students will plant yellow and green flowers (the college’s colors) around it.
They have also produced a ¼ scale model of a home that will be 3D printed at full size in Chino Valley within the next few months, Mintzmeyer says. It will be the Prescott area’s first 3D printed building.
The home of the future?
3D-printed houses and buildings are being explored as a more affordable, labor-efficient construction option in the U.S. and abroad. NASA is investigating their potential for future moon or Mars colonies.
John Morgan, YC Dean of Career and Technical Education, says the cost differential will become clearer as more homes are printed. He said homes built in Prescott would currently average about $270 per square foot versus $350 per square foot for a conventional stucco project.
Morgan says plans are to offer the course summer and fall sessions. A class on the use of different building mixes and use of the technology in landscape structures is being developed.