TX House 3-D Printed in Under a Day
Austin, Texas, is playing host to the first 3-D printed home that is both up to code and can house people as-is. With a construction cost of $10,000, the home may prove to be a feasible housing solution for families in countries such as El Salvador and Haiti.
New Story, a charity devoted to building homes for people in developing nations, and ICON, an Austin-based robotics company, worked together to show that the home could be created in 24 hours.
The 800-square-foot home was printed using ICON's proprietary Vulcan printer, which was developed in conjunction with New Story. The 3-D printer is sizable yet still portable, and uses a custom blend of concrete that hardens as its printed; the substrate itself was laid in 100 roughly 1-inch-thick strands that hold their shape as they harden.
Once finished, the home had several rooms: a bathroom, a main bedroom, a living room and a small office that could also serve as a child’s bedroom.
After printing was completed, crews installed windows, basic plumbing, a wooden roof and electrical wiring. All told, the setup, including finishing, took just under a day.
Evan Loomis, founder of ICON, told Quartz that the walls are as strong as cinderblocks after a few days of hardening, and the house is inhabitable once it has been set up.
Looking to the future, ICON is seeking to develop robots that would handle the installation of windows and drones that would spray paint the exterior walls. The company is also discussing eventually 3-D printing roofs.
An ICON representative told Quartz that the printer could eventually feasibly create a home in about six hours. ICON is also striving to lower the building cost to $4,000.
The 3-D printed home was unveiled at South by Southwest earlier this month.
New Story for El Salvador
According to CNN, New Story is currently working to raise $1 million to bring more than 100 3-D printed homes to El Salvador over the next two years.
To date, New Story has constructed 850 homes in Haiti, El Salvador, Mexico and Bolivia since its launch in December 2014. Some of these homes were built with basic concrete blocks and a tin roof, each taking 15 days and costing more than $6,000.
"One organization—as good as it is—can only do so much," New Story CEO and cofounder Brett Hagler told CNN. "We thought what about trying to focus more on research, development and innovation. We asked, 'What if we could significantly decrease the cost and significantly increase speed [of building homes]?'"