ICON says that the construction of the house generates zero waste and the printer is designed to function under unpredictable constraints like limited water, power, and labour infrastructure to tackle housing shortages
A US-based startup promises to 3-D print sturdy and affordable houses within 24 hours. ICON, co-founded by Alex Le Roux, Jason Ballard, and Evan Loomis, has put the first such home on display in SXSW (South by South Western) in Texas.
The company has developed a 3-D printer which uses cement mix to ‘print’ one storey houses. The production version of the printer will have the ability to print a single story, 600-800 square foot home in under 24 hours for less than USD 4,000 (Rs 2.6 lakh), the company claims.
ICON says that the construction of the house generates zero waste and the printer is designed to function under unpredictable constraints like limited water, power, and labour infrastructure to tackle housing shortages.
In collaboration with New Story, a non-profit organisation, the company is building such houses in multiple South American countries. “We have been building homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia,” Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story, said in a report by The Verge.
Construction of a community of about 100 homes is being planned by the next year in El Salvador. Once the pre-requisites, like material testing and design tweaking, is done with, the company will move its Vulcan printer to the country.
The model of the house has a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and a curved porch.
Though ICON is not the first company to print a home but Ballard claims that other houses built till now looked like Yoda huts. ICON’s prototype uses cement as a common material and hence should satisfy people who suspect its sturdiness.
“There are a few other companies that have printed homes and structures. But they are printed in a warehouse, or they look like Yoda huts. For this venture to succeed, they have to be the best houses. I think if we were printing in plastic we would encounter some issues,” Ballard says.As per a research, 1.2 billion people in cities lack access to affordable and secure housing. The number is set to grow to 1.6 billion by 2025. The housing solution from ICON if realised at a large scale could be a plausible solution to reduce that number.