In a bid to help solve the housing problem in developing nations, 3D printing firm Icon has partnered non-profit New Story to develop a way to build cheap homes that can be set up in less than 24 hours. The partners point to a WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Studies report released last year that found 1.2 billion city-dwellers across the world don't have access to affordable and secure housing. Currently being tested on a prototype of Icon's mobile 3D printer, the aim is to print houses for less than $4,000 (roughly Rs. 2.6 lakhs), making it easier for a larger proportion of the developing world's population to build their homes.
Icon showcased one such 3D-printed home at the SXSW festival, currently taking place at Austin, Texas, its home town. The envisioned $4,000 home is a single-story, 600-800 square foot home that can be built using the company's Vulcan 3D printer in less than 24 hours. The company says the low-cost home is built using "cutting-edge materials tested to the most recognised standards of safety, comfort, and resiliency."
The $4,000 3D-printed home is also claimed to use "nearly zero" waste production methods and can be built under "unpredictable constraints" such as limited water, power, and labour infrastructure. New Story is a Y Combinator-backed non-profit that is looking to build sustainable communities that offer education, basic infrastructure, and income opportunities.
The Icon-New Story partnership also allows for design collaboration between the 3D printing firm and the housing solution non-profit, taking feedback from the communities the homes are meant to serve and allowing for customisation where required. Icon says local labour will also operate the machines. The Verge reports the first project that's planned is to build a community of 100 homes in El Salvador in 2019, once the company completes its design and material testing.
Work on this front hearkens back to a similar project back in 2014, where a giant 3D concrete printer was developed to "contour craft" a 2,500 square foot house in layers within 24 hours.