Low-priced 3D-Printed Home Will Help Overcome Housing Shortages


The company demonstrated its innovation in Austin at SXSW's annual Interactive Festival, constructing their prototype in real time. Using ICON's Vulcan 3D printer, the collaborative effort aims to 3D print 650-square-foot homes that are affordable and sustainable.

It was teamed up with global housing solutions nonprofit New Story for this project. Best of all, the homes would cost just $10,000. ICON is building this affordable house using low-priced 3D printing technology. In comparison, some Americans have chosen to downsize into "tiny homes" which can cost almost $40,000 and are only between 200 and 400-square-feet in size.

Rendering of 3D-printing houses using the Vulcan 3D printer.

A report from the World Resources Institute estimated that 1.2 billion people now live in cities without affordable or secure housing.

Now that the proof of concept has been finished, ICON and New Story will be moving into phase two by taking the idea to El Salvador and printing its first homes there.

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"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 added.

The concrete is laid out in 100 strands that are about one inch thick and hold their shape as they harden. Within the office, the construction tech company plans to install air quality monitors and keep an eye on how the 3D printed structure looks and smells.

There are other groups which are working on printing houses. The company hopes to bring its housing to move countries in the future.

After solving the vast housing and homelessness problems that plague the Earth, Ballard hopes to use 3D printing to help humans build homes in outer space. In medicine, 3D printers can be used to create cheaper prosthetics.