ICON can print an entire home for $10,000 and plans to bring costs down to $4,000 per house, whereas, some American homes, 200 to 400-square-feet in size cost almost $40,000.
A prototype house consisting of a single storey living room, two bedrooms and bathroom was showcased this week at the annual technology festival South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, and unlike traditional 3D printers, uses concrete rather than plastic.
A report from the World Resources Institute estimated that 1.2 billion people now live in cities without affordable or secure housing. And ICON hopes that eventually, it can bring the cost of homes down to $4,000.
Chinese company WinSun and San Francisco's Aptis Cor are among the leaders in the field, with the latter 3D printing a 400 square foot house in Russian Federation last week using a mobile printer.
ICON's main aim is not to just build homes fast, but make them extremely affordable as well.
ICON and New Story also want to partner to construct a 3D printed community, comprising of 100 homes, in El Salvador next year.
Recently some Americans also have chosen to downsize into smaller homes but these also cost almost $40,000 and are only between 200 and 400-square-feet in size.
"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". The printer gives out a custom blend of concrete that hardens as it's printed. 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. Within the office, the construction tech company plans to install air quality monitors and keep an eye on how the 3D printed structure looks and smells. However, the technology for suspending concrete as it prints is not feasible yet. One of them is Apis Cor in Russian Federation.
With 3D printing emerging throughout the construction industry, the technology is becoming a groundbreaking production tool for affordable and sustainable housing. In homes, at the moment small 3D printers can be used to create toys for children.
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