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Large Scale Production of Low-Cost Lightweight Homes using Additive Manufacturing of Recycled Polymers




2: Mechanical Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

David Hardt

Faculty email:


Apply by:



David Hardt, hardt@ mit.edu and AJ Perez, ajp2013@mit.edu

Project Description

This project aims to revolutionize the design, production and distribution of homes globally. Focusing on the needs of the homeless and underhoused, the goal is to combine the simplicity and flexibility of large-scale additive manufacturing, with the immense resource base of recycled polymers` to create homes that are quickly produced, easily distributed and installed and have performance equal to or better than conventional construction. The project encompasses topics ranging from basic material properties, to structures, architectural design, energy footprints, and manufacturing scale-up. Current areas of interest for UROP projects include – total cycle analysis of energy consumption and carbon footprint, coatings for function and esthetics, flammability and environmental effects on polymers, low cost polymer additives for strength enhancement, design of purpose-built additive manufacturing equipment and micro-factory design for difficult environments, and manufacturing/logistic system design.


Most of all a real interest in the goal of providing affordable, dignified homes to those most in need. Also, familiarity with CAD tools such as Solidworks; material and mechanics knowledge also helpful but not required. Experience with additive manufacturing is also an advantage but not required.