Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

3D printing project aimed at revolutionizing low-priced housing

3D printing project aimed at revolutionizing low-priced 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. The company's co-founders told The Verge that it will be using the model home as an office to see how its idea shakes out.

Using the Vulcan printer, ICON can print an entire home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house.

The project is still quite early in development but as it progresses, New Story and Icon expect to reduce total printing time to 24 hours (the printer wasn't working at full speed when the prototype house was made) and lower costs to $4,000.

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The firm has teamed up with New Story, a nonprofit that invests in worldwide housing, and plans to build around 100 new homes in El Salvador within the next 18 months.

The partners are hoping to build a community of 100 3D-printed homes in El Salvador next year. Their 100% model ensures that every penny of each donation goes to build homes while organization overhead and R&D is covered by private donors such as Y Combinator, prominent venture capitalists, and other leading executives.

According to a report from the World Resources Institute's Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, around 1.2 billion people live without adequate housing throughout the world. At SXSW, the organization flaunted a 3D-printed house which includes a parlor, room, washroom, and bended patio.

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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 printer gives out a custom blend of concrete that hardens as it's printed.

With 3D printing emerging throughout the construction industry, the technology is becoming a groundbreaking production tool for affordable and sustainable housing. The companies are targeting the end of 2018 for the first homes to be printed and expect to have the first 3D printed community completed by 2019. 3D printing is already revolutionizing the way products are created and will continue to do so in the future, according to experts.

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 homes, at the moment small 3D printers can be used to create toys for children.

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