Baylor graduate constructs tiny house with 3-D printer

Alex Le Roux’s 3-D printer created this simple but livable house in only 24 hours. The house stands on the wood platform that was part of the printer itself. Photo credit: Courtesy of Alex Le Roux

It seems that breakthroughs in technology occur almost every day. One of the latest technological breakthroughs has come from Baylor graduate Alex Le Roux. Baylor fans may remember him as a former cross country athlete. However, others have come to know him as the first person to 3-D print a house in America.

Advances in 3-D printing have allowed for a variety of innovations within different sectors. In 2013, scientists at Princeton University created a bionic ear with the ability to pick up radio frequencies by using 3-D printing technology, according to an article by Princeton University. Le Roux has taken 3-D printing a step further by solely using a 3-D printer to build a livable space.

Le Roux began his venture of 3-D printing at Baylor, where he tinkered with the 3-D printers available to the engineering majors. Although he was able to print small toys, the limitations of the printer soon bored him.

“I wanted to print something more useful,” Le Roux said.

After some time, Le Roux built his first printer, which measured a colossal 10 feet by 10 feet. As the printer — along with his objectives — evolved, Le Roux realized he had the opportunity to print the first 3-D house in America and seized it.

The process of printing the house is a “simple technique,” Le Roux said. He began with a 2-D design on a computer and stacked the designs on top of one another in order to raise it up. As one person kept an eye on the computer and printer, the other fed concrete into the printer, and in a mere 24 hours, the house was built.

Alex Le Roux's 3-D printer took 24 hours to print a concrete house. Photo credit: Courtesy of Alex Le Roux

While Le Roux said his immediate goal is to print an up-to-code house in Austin with the hopes of capturing the attention of investors and scaling his company, his ultimate goal “is to try to automate construction as much as possible.” He envisions construction moving to an age where robot arms are doing the heavy lifting and dwellings are completed in the span of a couple of days. The tiny house industry has grown because of its simplistic nature. With the aid of Le Roux’s accomplishments, tiny houses will become more accessible and the industry will continue to grow.

Currently, Le Roux is making revisions to his printer in order to improve its efficiency.

“We have cool stuff coming out soon,” he said.