It Took Only 24 Hours to Build This $10,000 3D-Printed Concrete House

ICON's plans to 3D print a house in one day could be a method to provide low-cost, affordable homes to the world's 1.2 billion who lack adequate housing.

Source: ICON

A start-up located in Austin, Texas will use 3D printing technology to mass-produce small houses in order to solve the problem of affordable housing around the world.


With the use of a huge 3D printer, ICON has invented a new method of constructing houses. According to the company, the process takes only 12 to 24 hours. At the annual film and innovation festival SXSW, ICON demonstrated how it could build a 650-square-foot house out of cement in one day.


In collaboration with housing solutions NGO New Story, ICON aspires to construct sustainable and high-quality homes that are affordable to all.


The company claims that using an industrial-sized Vulcan printer, it can now produce a single-story home for $10,000, but is striving to reduce that cost to $4,000.


ICON's main goal is to not only build homes quickly, but also to make them relatively affordable. “It’s much cheaper than the typical American home.” ICON co-founder Jason Ballard said.


Some people in the United States have recently decided to downsize into tiny homes, which cost around $40,000 and range in size from 200 to 400 square feet.


1.2 billion people live without secure housing


According to the World Resources Institute, 1.2 billion people live in cities where housing is neither affordable nor secure. Next year, the partners hope to construct a village of 100 cheap 3D-printed homes in El Salvador.


The house was built using a 3D Vulcan printer, which is said to be massive but still portable. The printer produces a special concrete blend that hardens as it is printed.

Source: ICON

The concrete is spread down in 100 one-inch-thick strands that keep their shape as they harden. After a few days of hardening, the printed walls are reported to be stronger than cinderblocks, yet the house is completely habitable after it's been set up.


In the future, ICON hopes to develop robots that can automatically install windows, as well as drones that can spray-paint the external walls. The company also intends to investigate the possibilities of printing roofs. However, the technology required to suspend concrete as it prints is currently unavailable.


Other organizations are working on printing houses. Apis Cor in Russia is one of them. ICON, on the other hand, believes that its structure is the first printed house to be deemed habitable by a local government.


In the long run, the company intends to market its house-printing technology in the United States, where housing shortages are at an all-time high in some of the country's largest cities. According to experts, 3D printing is already transforming the way items are manufactured and will continue to do so in the future.


The printers can make a 3D structure out of a variety of materials, such as food and cement. At the moment, smaller 3D printers may be used to make toys for children in the home. 3D printers can be utilized to make cheaper prosthetics in the medical field. In terms of housing, it is hoped that the low-cost building will spark a trend toward more affordable housing.


I strongly advocate bringing these types of affordable houses to the US and to our neighborhoods. Our people need these type of housing opportunities. The future is in 3D printing houses and structures across the globe. Even NASA is planning to build structures on the moon and Mars using 3D printers.


I personally believe that this can be a goldmine opportunity for the right investment group that has vision and passion to revitalize our communities and bring affordable and sustainable housing to our people.

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