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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US Election 2016: The Washington Post to 3D Print Results Live

wp-politicsWhatever your feelings toward the 2016 US presidential campaigning has been, there’s finally something we can agree about: it ends tonight. Election Day 2016 has been fraught with tension built up over months of a busy, mud-slinging campaign season, and finally, finally the polls will be closing. The United States has a complicated electoral process — which 3D printing can help you to understand — and tonight the ballots will be counted. Absentee, early, in person at the polls: the votes have been rolling in, and the eyes of the world are upon us.

I got up early to vote this morning with my husband and, despite reports of area friends with hour-plus-long lines at their local polling stations, we were able to walk right in and cast our votes with no wait. Once I sign off from the computer, we’ll be joining friends at a watch party to see those electoral votes roll in to determine who our next president will be. Ohio is famously a swing state, so we’re all especially full of frayed nerves around here.

You have an unprecedented amount of options this year for tuning in for election coverage, from live streams and podcasts to radio and television, but there’s also a new viewing party in town, thanks to the Washington Post. Tonight, starting at 7 pm EST, Washington Post Politics will be live streaming a new visualization method of electoral vote counting, sharing on Facebook the 3D printing of two models of the White House, one blue, one red.


[Image: The Washington Post]

“We built these White Houses from plastic … and electoral votes. To illustrate the 2016 presidential election results in real time, The Post is using a pair of Makerbot 3D Replicator+ machines to print two identical models of The White House in red and blue. Each model represents the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. As states are called by the Associated Press for Hillary Clinton (blue) and Donald J. Trump (red), the printers will print just that much of the White House,” the Post says.

“By the end of the night, one White House will be complete and 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. will have a new occupant.”

The footage will additionally be made available tomorrow morning as a time-lapse video showing the 3D printing process.

“Each White House is divided into 270 parts, one for each electoral vote needed to win the presidency,” the Post explains. “For example, if Kentucky is called for Republican Donald Trump the red printer will add 3% more to its model. But that’s not all. The Post will have an illustrator coloring in states and tracking the votes needed live as the printers work.”

20160920_113206Helping the Post‘s efforts along will be two 3D printers we’re quickly becoming more familiar with: the recently-introduced Replicator+ from MakerBot. Using the new desktop 3D printers also demonstrates the Post‘s trust in their reliability in front of a live audience, providing a nice vote of confidence in technology from the company that had been synonymous with desktop 3D printing for quite a while.

 “In addition to all The Post’s thoughtful, serious coverage, we wanted to offer our audience a fun and light-hearted way to track the presidential results,” the Post’s director of strategic initiatives, Jeremy Gilbert, told the Washingtonian.

“This election has been quite serious and acrimonious. We wanted to find an alternate tone for people tracking the vote. The White House is a natural symbol for the presidency and the idea of building a White House as a way to see who’s ahead on election night felt natural. Once we tried watching the 3D printers work, we found it almost mesmerizing. It’s a slow journalism way to enjoy the vote counting.”

Whatever your thoughts on the candidates headlining tonight’s news, whether you question their logos, hate their faces, or think it’s all for the dogs — tonight will be one for the history books, however the votes tally up. And of course — we can only hope to continue to see 3D printing welcomed in the White House under our next Commander in Chief.


Google’s election coverage, ready to go at 6 pm EST on election day