April 3, 2023

To address affordable housing, Circle Up Indy eyes 3D-printed homes

Circle Up Indy CEO James Wilson announces plans to purchase 3D printers for building homes.  - WBAA News/Ben Thorp

Circle Up Indy CEO James Wilson announces plans to purchase 3D printers for building homes.

WBAA News/Ben Thorp

In an effort to address Indianapolis’ affordable housing crisis, nonprofit Circle Up Indy is looking into a unique solution: 3D-printed homes.

The group is hoping to fundraise $2.6 million to purchase two 3D printers, training in how to use them, and a supply and distribution facility.

During a press conference Monday, community leaders presented a video from Apis Cor – the company behind the printers – that outlined the promise of the new technology.

The video touted equipment that “has no analogs in the world today”, and could “almost eliminate the human factor” from construction. 

According to Circle Up Indy leaders, 3D-printed homes have lower manufacturing costs and can be constructed in just 24 hours.

The 3D printers are increasingly being pushed as a solution to U.S homebuilding woes. Manufacturers trumpet their comparable lower costs and reduced workforce requirements. 

James Wilson, CEO of Circle Up Indy, said the printers will not just help create affordable homes, but could also bring 500 jobs to the city.

“That’s the key to everything – stabilizing families and individuals,” he said.

According to Wilson, if Circle Up Indy is able to obtain 3D printers they could build 2,000 homes within the first two years.

The event was attended by a number of speakers – including Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears –  who talked about how housing could help address the city’s crime rates.

“When we’re able to get people into housing and into a job we don’t see them in the criminal justice system,” Mears told attendees. “Too often times, there are too many barriers for housing…any efforts that are out there in our community to provide more housing opportunities to people are critical to reducing violent crime.”

Houses could be anywhere from two to four bedrooms and will cost under $150,000, Wilson said.

“The quality is phenomenal,” he said. “...We want to make the houses beautiful.”

Wilson said Circle Up hopes to acquire funding for the printers by the end of the year.

Currently, the organization has raised roughly $15,000 of its $2.6 million goal.

Contact WBAA/WFYI reporter Benjamin Thorp at bthorp@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @sad_radio_lad.

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