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Source: Courtesy: ICON

This 3D Printed House Can Be Built In Less Than 48 Hours

By Aimee Lutkin

Jason Ballard, the co-founder and president of Austin's green home improvement store TreeHouse, unveiled his next project at SXSW this week: ICON is a project in collaboration with New Story, a nonprofit that works to build safe living spaces in the developing world. ICON is providing the means to do that at speed, by introducing a 3D printer called the Vulcan that creates concrete, building-code standard homes in just days at a fraction of the cost of traditional building methods.

The Vulcan is still in development. At the moment it can produce a 350 square feet house in about 48 hours. New Story and ICON are working on the printer with a goal is to make 600-800 square foot homes in less than a day. The model for this space includes a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and a curved porch. When they can reliably do that at a price point of $4,000 per unit, they'll be moving the printer to El Salvador. Their projected goal is to get there within the next 18 months. The hope is that a printer of this size will speed up the process of housing people with far less waste and a higher quality of structure.

“Conventional construction methods have many baked-in drawbacks and problems that we’ve taken for granted for so long that we forgot how to imagine any alternative,” said Ballard.  “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.”