ICON builds a 3D house in under 24 hours

Katrina Barker
March 14, 2018

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 can print a whole home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house, though, some American homes, 200 to 400-square-feet in measure cost about $40,000.

In order to 3D print a building, however, ICON needs to create a schematic.

If all goes according to plan, a community made up of about 100 homes will be constructed for residents in El Salvador next year as part of a joint project between ICON and home building charity, New Story.

Right now, about 1.2 billion people in cities around the world lack affordable and secure housing, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, which equals about 330 million households.

The model home, which was unveiled at a South by Southwest conference and festival in Austin, Texas, on Monday, included a living room, bedroom and curved porch. The company also plans to build homes in the United States eventually. The strength of the printed walls are said to be stronger than cinderblocks after a few days of hardening, but the house is entirely habitable after it's been set up.

Alexandra Lafci, co-founder of New Story, said that both the companies believe that 3D printing is going to become a technique for all types of housing.

Could 3D printing be the answer to homelessness around the world?

However, before these homes are built, ICON is planning to trial the model by 3D printing an office in Austin.

The printers can create a 3D structure using different materials, including food, cement.

The properties, which are now at the concept stage, will soon be used to provide safe shelter for people in El Salvador and could one day be expanded worldwide to house billions.

"We need a quantum leap in affordability, speed and quality to reach families exponentially faster", New Story wrote on its website. However, by working alongside ICON, they now have access to the impressive Vulcan 3D printer.

'For this venture to succeed, they have to be the best houses. It will reduce labor costs and create minimal waste. "I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues", explains co-founder of ICON, Jason Ballard. That's not all, the company is also already looking past El Salvador and the United States into space. You're not going to open a two by four and open screws. Ballard has noted that creating habitats in space is a huge challenge, but one-day communities will live off-Earth.

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