Architecture

3D printing project aimed at revolutionizing low-cost housing

3D printing project aimed at r...
The 3D-printed home currently costs US$10,000 to produce but New Story and Icon aim to reduce this to $4,000
The 3D-printed home currently costs US$10,000 to produce but New Story and Icon aim to reduce this to $4,000
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The 3D-printed home shown is a proof-of-concept model recently unveiled at SXSW in Austin, Texas
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The 3D-printed home shown is a proof-of-concept model recently unveiled at SXSW in Austin, Texas
The 3D-printed home currently costs US$10,000 to produce but New Story and Icon aim to reduce this to $4,000
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The 3D-printed home currently costs US$10,000 to produce but New Story and Icon aim to reduce this to $4,000
Construction shot of the 3D-printed home
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Construction shot of the 3D-printed home
Construction shot of the 3D-printed home
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Construction shot of the 3D-printed home

A collaboration between housing non-profit New Story and construction technology firm Icon aims to use 3D printing technology to house the homeless. While it's early days yet, they hope to produce low-cost 3D-printed homes in El Salvador by late 2019.

New Story and Icon debuted an initial proof-of-concept model, pictured, at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, yesterday. The home is similar in nature to the Apis Cor house and measures just 350 sq ft (32 sq m).

It was created with a mobile 3D-printer developed by Icon named the Vulcan. The Vulcan functions much like other 3D printers used in construction and extrudes mortar out of a nozzle in a pre-programmed pattern, slowly building up layers until a basic house structure is formed. This is then finished by humans who add windows, a roof, and the like.

The proof-of-concept model cost US$10,000 to produce and took 48 hours to make, including the finishing touches.

The 3D-printed home shown is a proof-of-concept model recently unveiled at SXSW in Austin, Texas
The 3D-printed home shown is a proof-of-concept model recently unveiled at SXSW in Austin, Texas

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. How such a big drop in price will come about isn't made clear. Icon will also use the proof-of-concept house as its own office to get a better feel for how it performs.

Further into the future, the team aims to raise funding and build its 3D-printed homes in El Salvador in the next 18 months. All being well, it is hoped that people will actually be living in the 3D-printed homes by late 2019. This second iteration of 3D-printed dwellings will be a little more refined than the prototype model, measuring 600 - 800 sq ft (55 - 74 sq m) and including a living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, and a porch.

Check out the video below for more information on the project.

Sources: New Story, Icon

New Story + ICON : 3D Printed Homes for the Developing World

10 comments
caeman
Wouldn't it be more efficient and cost-effective to build a high-rise apartment building to house the homeless? One would end up with a greater density of living and use less land.
Leonard Foster Jr
People need this in the USA even the working can't afford housing anymore.
WilliamPapke
What, there aren't homeless or poor in the US who need a house?
S Michael
What is it with Atlas... You seem to be obsessed with small homes. I guess you see small homes for us "little people" while the rich and famous have palatial mansions with high walls and guards.
Deres
I doubt the price of manpower is the main issue in the undevelopped countries the video is talking ... For the 3D printing part, i do not see anything new in this model. You need to create a big concrete slab to put your house, you have to make the roof and all the Windows, doors, painting and finishes by hand independantly. Worst, you still need to build beforehand a printer bigger than the house you want to build ...
Aross
The reason we no longer have affordable housing in most of North America is because the tax grabbing municipalities in many locations set a limit of minimum value on new construction thereby preventing the building of smaller starter homes which in the long run increases tax revenues.
Bruce Golden
Aross ... rare that a city sets a minimum value ... usually has zoning that provides a minimum house size that might imply a minimum value. Leander TX just passed a revised zoning that allows tiny houses as small as 140 sqft on 700 sqft lots. no one has built yet but Leander has taken a bold step to make housing more affordable. WP yep some homeless would like housing (most like living rough or on the streets). Austin has a near-urban village for formerly homeless that appears to work ok (all dwellings are small but site/village has shared common facilities) Caeman ... well no, current highrise apartments in Austin are about $300/sqft (high end $1000+) so Icon/NewStory vision is an order of magnitude lower. And yep, this house is aspirational cost at $5/sqft. Austin did fund and build a beautiful facility called ARCH ... and cost way over $1000/sqft for the actual shelter portion.
Tom Lee Mullins
I would not mind living in that. I think that is very creative. I think it is better than a high rise. They have high rises in NYC and they don't seem to do well since they don't tend to be safe places.
ljaques
Caeman, yeah, high-rises for the poor/homeless. That worked out so well in Chicago's Cabrini-Green, didn't it? https://is.gd/yDYmgL I like the Japanese solution best: https://is.gd/mc0mj5
Erwinecosmart
Yes, Yes, and Yes we agree with the negative comments. These homes are energy wasters and qualify for Zero LEED points, Zero employment opportunities and only supports the concrete industry. Waste of money and technology application. When the machines can make 3D Sip panels that are foam and cement or foam and recycled plastic, then call me back...