A start-up based in Austin, Texas will be mass producing small homes using 3D printing technology to find a solution to the problem of affordable housing around the world. "I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues", explains co-founder of ICON, Jason Ballard.
Using the Vulcan printer, ICON can print an entire home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house. A Silicon Valley-based company is using the technology in hopes of solving the financial housing crisis that has left a billion people without shelter.
Icon first creates a schematic, which is then fed into a computer that instructs the printer how and where to place the cement.
ICON's main aim is not to just build homes fast, but make them extremely affordable as well.
New Story is also involved in urban planning, and can build homes around schools, play areas and employment opportunities. As a part of this effort, ICON has developed cutting-edge materials tested to the most recognized standards of safety, comfort and resiliency and is created to function with almost zero waste production methods and work under unpredictable constraints (limited water, power, and labor infrastructure) to tackle housing shortages.
They say house prices are driven by land value but when homes are selling for A$1.3 million in Mount Druitt, Sydney (no offence Mount Druitt), cheap and innovative alternatives like this begin to look very promising if you don't fancy an eye-watering mortgage.
'For this venture to succeed, they have to be the best houses. The company also added that its 3D printed homes will significantly reduce labor costs and will also create minimal waste.
Since these structures need to be sturdy and hospitable, the companies aren't taking any risks and will be refining the process right up until they take it over to El Salvador.
Eventually, ICON also wants to construct homes in the United States. Ballard has noted that creating habitats in space is a huge challenge, but one-day communities will live off-Earth.
The company's Vulcan printer is used to create the properties, which can be built as large as 800 sq ft (75 sq ft) - around twice as large as the average "tiny house" and comparable to one-bedroom apartment sizes in cities like NY and London.