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

14 March 2018

Using ICON's Vulcan 3D printer, the collaborative effort aims to 3D print 650-square-foot homes that are affordable and sustainable. "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". So this week at the annual film and innovation festival known as SXSW, an Austin-based startup unveiled the solution to the growing problem of affordable housing around the world.

There are countless people across the globe without adequate housing and despite all of the efforts being made by governments and non-profits, there's still a long way to go before housing can be secured for those in dire need of it. ICON, a startup based in Austin, demonstrated a low-priced 3D-printed home that's being presented as a potential solution to this global problem.

The proof-of-concept model cost US$10,000 to produce and took 48 hours to make, including the finishing touches. The average NY apartment is about 866 square feet. New Story's goal for this project is to print the first community of homes for underserved families in El Salvador in the coming 18 months, and then through partnerships, scale up production to serve additional communities over the next few years.

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A spokesman for the firm said: 'History has been punctuated with advances in technology and materials that provide an order-of-magnitude decrease in cost and time required to build a new home.

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

How long will the homes last?

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There are other groups which are working on printing houses. ICON also has plans to use this technology to build homes in the United States as well. Eventually, ICON hopes to reduce this construction cost to just $4,000.

Incredible houses printed from cement could help to end the global housing crisis, according to the company behind their creation.

New Story utilizes locally sourced materials for dwellings today, and they plan to do the same with 3D-printed houses, which will be comprised of a mortar. "I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues", explains co-founder of ICON, Jason Ballard.

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