Can’t afford to buy your dream house? Well, thanks to technology, there is option of printing it in under a day and then moving in. A construction company Icon revealed Vulcan, its 3D printer that can build homes in just 24 hours. The printer was showcased at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival last month and hopes to offer affordable housing solution.
At the festival, Icon showcased a 800 sq ft residence. The company aims to bring the cost under $5000 eventually, though right now the homes cost $10,000. This project has been taken up by Icon in collaboration with New Story, a non-profit that invests in international housing solutions. Designed to function as zero-waste homes, they can be created under constraints of labour, or limited water and power. The project won SXSW’s Accelerator Pitch event.
Vulcan itself is made of lightweight aluminium and includes an in-built generator backup system. The printer relies on software and robotics to provide different material designs and building options for the home. Key factors weighed in during component design include terrain, family size and weather patterns. The printer also lets home owners have a real say in design, and address specific issues.
Still there are challenges and printing out a full fledged house is not easy. The biggest problem remains around creating the ideal concrete mix. The composition has to support the structure of the house, and be ideal 3D printing material at the same time, which is tricky to achieve. Once the house has been printed though, it still needs 2 to 4 persons for the final assembly.
Icon has partnered with New Story, which is a San Francisco based non-profit, to take this project to communities where there is need. Icon has been using 3D printed materials for housing. Under the collaboration with New Story, the first 3D-printed house received permits in Austin, Texas.
Vulcan will also be used to build a housing community in El Salvador. Icon has big plans for Vulcan, which could be modified in the future to include robots that add various components like doors and windows. 3D-printing roofs is also a possibility being considered by the company. The idea is that a 3D printer like the Vulcan could help with cheaper home solutions.