Live at SXSW: $4000 3D Printed Homes for Those Who Lack Shelter

The construction company ICON is working together with the charity New Story to combat inadequate housing across the globe. Using ICON’s Vulcan 3D printer, the collaborative effort aims to 3D print 650-square-foot homes that are affordable and sustainable.  

With 3D printing emerging throughout the construction industry, the technology is becoming a  groundbreaking production tool for affordable and sustainable housing. The latest organization to adopt 3D printing into its humanitarian efforts is New Story. The charity’s mission is to place people without adequate housing into a proper shelter, taking them away from the throes of “survival mode”.

The non-profit organization is now working with ICON, an Austin, Texas-based construction tech company. ICON has unveiled the Vulcan 3D printer at SXSW Festival, a manufacturing solution that could eventually provide homeless or struggling families with a roof over their heads.

Together, ICON and New Story are 3D printing homes using a cement mixture. Each structure takes around 12 to 24 hours to produce. The 650-square-foot single story homes have a modern design.

The current plan is to build 100 homes in El Salvador next year. According to Alexandria Lafci, co-founder of New Story, the charity has also been 3D printing homes for communities in Haiti, El Salvador, and Bolivia.

However, before these homes are built, ICON is planning to trial the model by 3D printing an office in Austin. 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.

New Story and ICON Attempt to 3D Print Sustainable Homes for $4,000

New Story explains on its website that last year, the technology they needed to create homes quickly and cheaply wasn’t available yet. However, by working alongside ICON, they now have access to the impressive Vulcan 3D printer.

Currently, it costs $10,000 to 3D print a home with the Vulcan 3D printer. Eventually, ICON hopes to reduce this construction cost to just $4,000.

“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,” explains co-founder of ICON, Jason Ballard.

Since these structures need to be sturdy and hospitable, the companies aren’t taking any risks and will be refining the process right up until they take it over to El Salvador. If all goes according to plan, we may soon see the Vulcan 3D printing homes in the United States as well.

As we’ve seen in cases both inside and outside of the construction sector, 3D printing offers many benefits other than just being very quick. The technology also tends to reduce waste and manual labor costs.

After solving the vast housing and homelessness problems that plague the Earth, Ballard hopes to use 3D printing to help humans build homes in outer space. He explains:  “One of the big challenges is how are we going to create habitats in space… You’re not going to open a two by four and open screws. It’s one of the more promising potential habitat technologies.”

In the meantime, if you’d like to join the effort to eliminate homelessness on Planet Earth, you can donate to the cause on the New Story website.

Source: The Verge

License: The text of “Live at SXSW: $4,000 3D Printed Homes for Those Who Lack Shelter” by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Dude, Awesome Lack Hack: Maker in the UK Designs Large Format 3D Printer with IKEA Table

The LACK side table from IKEA, priced at $9.99.

The LACK side table from IKEA, priced at $9.99.

I’ve discovered over time that not everyone loves IKEA as I do. While their furniture generally looks quite amazing when showcased correctly, they’ve gotten a bad rap over time for offering up cheap prices with way too many pieces to assemble, outrageously ridiculous directions that husbands apparently require massive amounts of imported beer to cope with, and although it’s really never been my experience—flimsy results that, ahem, are not said to get better with age.

The making community however has a tendency to enjoy the products of this company that so famously hails from the woods of southern Sweden and is now known by all, whether you own their furniture, have eaten their meatballs, or napped in a display bed in one of their stores. And it’s easy to see why creative types are drawn to the new trend of hacking IKEA wares. You can take their creativity and streamlined style one step further, make it your own, and improve on it. Whether they know it or not, IKEA is supplying makers and hackers everywhere with open-source furniture, as well as the resources to take other projects one step further, as we are seeing in the case of a cool hack that 3D Hubs just shared with us, having some fun on a Friday afternoon at the office.

IKEA tables seem to be a staple for those using IKEA stuff as hacks—or as in the case of the UK’s Wayne Mason-Drust, using them as integrated supporting mechanisms. And releasing his ‘Ultimate IKEA LACK Table Hack,’ on YouTube for the purpose—or re-purpose, rather—of sharing his upcycling and recycling idea has earned him numerous excited comments. One fellow hacker commented on how he so brilliantly ‘re-engineered’ this IKEA item, putting the design right into perspective (the ‘commenter’ used a couple of other choice enthusiastic words, but you can read for yourself there).

tableThe result of Wayne’s project is a 3D printer, made with IKEA parts, that looks amazing. This is a man who was not afraid of assembly challenges, obviously, when he decided to center his new machine around LACK table parts.

Many of us have these tables, and if not from IKEA, then something very similar. They retail for under $10 and function as the perfect night-table for a dorm room or apartment. Note that yes, these tables are easy to assemble; however, Wayne definitely elevated these parts to an impressive new level of functionality and aesthetics. If you delve further into the comments he’s received from the video, you’ll see though that a major concern is that it looks good, but is it actually strong?

“I have printed a Marvin at 100mm/s with low quality 0.5mm build height in four minutes and a detailed one 0.1mm height in 40 minutes,” replied Wayne. “Quality vs speed at 50mm/s–the machine gives great results.”

According to Wayne, he used a size 0.6 nozzle with an E3D Volcano HotEnd connected to a E3D Titan Extruder, along with an MKS SBase controller and MKS TFT using Smoothieware.

“I intend to extend the extension pieces to increase the Z Height and look at other versions of the lack table range now I [that] have a fully working prototype,” says Wayne.

He says that he was able to make the printer for £260 (translating to around $377 USD), but intends to cut that further. At that price there are other printers you could probably buy as kits, but who wants to miss out on being part of the growing cultural phenomenon of the trendy IKEA hack?

Wayne sees it as a great and very affordable way to make a ‘cheap, large format printer.’ He claims his machine is sturdy and lightweight, and will soon also boast a printed heat bed as well as an enclosure.

“Thanks for all the comments. I will be publishing an Instructable shortly with the project being named PRINTTABLE, and is now under construction,” says Wayne, and it would seem he already has a list of fans waiting to get their hands on these files, with one maker mentioning he already has a LACK table unassembled in storage, ready to go.


This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a great 3D printed IKEA hack, from rudimentary 3D printer enclosures to lighting fixtures, vases, and even a cool little bike. Wayne’s idea, however, is the first we’ve seen where the printer’s design relies on and is greatly enhanced by a table that costs only $9.99. Do you have one of these little white tables, and it did it ever occur to you in your wildest dreams that you might see it reconfigured into the new technology of a 3D printer, allowing you to forge ahead in making countless innovations?

Check out the video below for yourself to get a full picture of both the cleverness and real elegance in this design. Wayne will also be entering his 3D printer in the Instructables 3D Printing Contest 2016 sponsored with 3D Hubs, so you can find out more about his design there, as well as perhaps entering your own concept—maybe you too can put some of that not-yet-assembled furniture to use? Are you into IKEA hacking? Discuss further over in the 3D Printer Made with LACK Table from IKEA forum at

[Source: 3D Hubs]