The 600ft by 800ft home in Austin, Texas was printed out of concrete in under 24 hours by charity New Story, in collaboration with construction technologies company, ICON. The home cost $4,000 to build.
The 3D printer used was created and tested over eight months, and its first printed home was unveiled as part of the annual SXSW music and tech festival in Austin.
‘This isn’t 10% better, it’s 10 times better’
Just as a standard 3D printer lays down layers of plastic to build up a small model, ICON’s printer does the same with layers of concrete, physically building the house from the ground up.
New Story and ICON claim the printed homes are expected to last as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit built homes. The homes are built to the International Building Code structural code standard.
The printer, dubbed The Vulcan, was conceived with the intention of delivering homes in poverty-stricken areas such as Haiti and rural El Salvador, where New Story works. Power in these areas can be unpredictable, clean water is not a guarantee, and technical assistance is sparse.
Globally, 1.3bn people live in slums. New Story hopes its 3D printed homes will offer greater potential than the current fast-build model of prefabricated, or modular, housing for tackling this problem.
“We view this printer as a catalytic research and development project that has the opportunity to influence the sector as a whole,” explains Brett Hagler, CEO of New Story. “Our hope is to learn, iterate, and then share the technology with other non-profits and governments to help everyone improve and reach families faster.”
“Conventional construction methods have many drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” adds Jason Ballard, co-founder of ICON.
“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. This isn’t 10% better, it’s 10 times better.”
After its successful first print, the printer will now be tested in situ in El Salvador in the coming 18 months. New Story expects the first families to move into its 3D printed homes by mid-2019.