3D printers can do a number of things now…..it was only a matter of time before they started spitting out houses. ICON, an Austin-based startup, has figured out how to do just that. ICON claims their technology can print up a livable structure in just 24 hours, or even less, for a cost of just $10,000. A large Vulcan printer uses cement to construct the walls of the dwelling, which can then be snapped together along with windows and doors.
The model home for ICON’s tech made its debut at SXSW this week. The model is 650 square feet in size and includes a living room, bedroom, bathroom and curved porch. Founder Jason Ballard will now be putting the prototype through its paces by using it as an office. “We are going to install air quality monitors,” he says. “How does it look and how does it smell?”
Don’t fork over the money just yet….the homes aren’t for you. ICON has developed the house-printing tech in cooperation with housing nonprofit New Story. Their goal isn’t to get rich off limp-wristed hipsters looking for Tiny Trendy Homes…it’s to help homeless communities in the Third World finally live within sheltered structures. Good for them.
“We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” said Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story. ICON’s 3D printer builds sturdier dwellings with cheaper materials, and it can potentially do better. ICON is working on refining the technology in order to speed up the printing, increase the sizes of the homes and lower the cost. Ballard believes he can get it down to $4000 a house.