3D-printed houses are getting insanely cheap

An Austin-based robotics construction startup unveiled the first permitted 3D-printed home at SXSW, and it costs less than $4k.


March 14, 2018

According to a report by the World Resources Institute’s Ross Center for Sustainable Cities, there are 1.2B people in the world who live in less than adequate housing.

But on Tuesday at South By Southwest, the Austin-based robotics construction startup ICON presented a possible solution: a 3D-printed home built on their mobile printer, the Vulcan, which can lay down a 1-story house faster than you can Amazon Prime a TV for the living room.

The sweet deets

The model presented at SXSW was merely a prototype, despite the fact it came equipped with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and curved porch, but the company believes with a little fine tuning, the Vulcan will be able to do so much more.

It can reportedly take 8 months or longer to build a community of 100 homes at $6k a pop with the more traditional methods. According to ICON, the Vulcan is capable of printing one 650-square-foot, single-story home out of cement in 12 to 24 hours, for less than $4k.

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Taking the show on the road

Last year, ICON partnered with New Story, a nonprofit charity that works to fix slums into functional, sustainable communities, and together they plan to address housing shortages around the world.

Currently, ICON can print an entire home for $10k, but once their process is fully ironed out, the company is certain they can hit their mark of $4k. 

Their goal is to finish testing, and have 100 homes built in El Salvador by 2019.

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