3D printing project aimed at revolutionizing low-priced housing

3D printing project aimed at revolutionizing low-priced housing

Andrew Cummings
March 14, 2018

By Joe Quirke0 CommentsSan Francisco-based charity New Story has teamed with Texan construction technology firm Icon to 3D-print homes for $4,000 each.

3D-printing offers several advantages over traditional building methods, ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said in a statement: "With 3D-printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability".

Using an industrial sized Vulcan printer, ICON says it can now build their single-story home for $10,000 but is working to drop that cost to just $4,000. The production version of the printer will be able to print this single-story 650 square foot house in under 24 hours for less than $4,000.

Food, water, and shelter are basic human needs, but 1.2 billion people in the world live without adequate housing facilities. On the outside, the 3D-printed house looks like common buildings there're a unique covered patio and spacious windows.

As The Verge reported, startup ICON has built an low-cost 3D printer that can print out the components of a small house in only 12 to 24 hours. ICON plans to use the technology to build a 100-home community in El Salvador next year.

Partnering with housing solutions nonprofit New Story, the Texas builders are hoping to achieve their vision of creating sustainable, "quality homes accessible to everyone".

"(ICON) believes, as do I, that 3D printing is going to be a method for all kinds of housing", New Story co-founder Alexandria Lafci said.

There are other groups which are working on printing houses.

"There are a few other companies that have printed homes and structures". If all goes according to plan, we may soon see the Vulcan 3D printing homes in the United States as well. However, ICON thinks that its structure is the first printed house that's been considered habitable by a local government.

Even though the machinery used in 3D-printing is quite costly, however, the materials can be affordable. ICON has unveiled the Vulcan 3D printer at SXSW Festival, a manufacturing solution that could eventually provide homeless or struggling families with a roof over their heads. In medicine, 3D printers can be used to create cheaper prosthetics.

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