There are countless people across the globe without adequate housing and despite all of the efforts being made by governments and non-profits, there's still a long way to go before housing can be secured for those in dire need of it. ICON, a startup based in Austin, demonstrated a low-priced 3D-printed home that's being presented as a potential solution to this global problem.
The current plan is to build 100 homes in El Salvador next year. The 650-square-foot single story homes have a modern design. According to Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story, the charity has also been 3D printing homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia. Icon will also use the proof-of-concept house as its own office to get a better feel for how it performs.
It showcased a prototype of this home at SXSW in Austin last week. ICON can print a whole home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house, though, some American homes, 200 to 400-square-feet in measure cost about $40,000.
There are other groups which are working on printing houses. The companies are targeting the end of 2018 for the first homes to be printed and expect to have the first 3D printed community completed by 2019. But they are printed in a warehouse, or they look like Yoda huts.
"The walls of the printed house are stronger than cinder blocks after a few days of hardening", said Icon co-founder Evan Loomis, "although the house is ready for human occupation after the home is set up - which entails crew members installing windows, a wooden roof, basic plumbing, and electrical plumbing as the house is printed". That's not all, the company is also already looking past El Salvador and the United States into space.
As we've seen in cases both inside and outside of the construction sector, 3D printing offers many benefits other than just being very quick.
The 3D Vulcan printer which was used in making the house is reported to be massive, but still portable. It will reduce labor costs and create minimal waste. You're not going to open a two by four and open screws.
3D-printing has become more accessible all around the globe, however, the of adoption of any large-scale utilization of 3D-printing technology is still a challenge.
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