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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CreoPop 3D Printing Pen Scores Round of Financing and is a Finalist in SXSW Awards

We’ve written about the Crepop printing pen before, and now the makers of the 3D printing pen with cool ink say they’ve completed a financing round led by 500 Startups!

20140616000729-top_heroBanner2The pen takes a different approach than typical pens, and instead of melting plastic with a hot end extruder like FDM 3D printers, the CreoPop uses a versions of stereolithography (SLA) and a photosensitive resin. The resin is cured by a UV laser, and that makes it safe for children to use as no heated parts are necessary.

Another venture capital firm, Singapore-based Ruvento, also participated in the financing round along with a number of private co-investors as well. The company says the amount of the financing falls somewhere in the mid-six-digit range, and CreoPop co-founder Andreas Birnik says that “commitments” amount to more than $892,000 in total.

“With its innovative and affordable multi-material, multi-color 3D printing solutions, CreoPop is about to disrupt the 3D printing industry,” said Gene Berger, the Managing Partner at Ruvento. “We are impressed with what CreoPop has achieved with its 3D pen and we look forward to seeing a series of new products from the company.”

CreoPop PenThat’s not all though.  The company announced more good news as part of the financing story.

CreoPop was also selected as a finalist in the Innovative World Technologies Category during the 7th Annual SXSW Accelerator competition. Part of the SXSW Startup Village, the Innovative World Technologies category is a showcase of new technology innovations which go before a hand-picked panel of judges and a live audience for selection.

“It is a great honor for CreoPop to have been selected as a finalist for the SXSW Accelerator Awards,” says Birnik. “We join the ranks of some of the world’s most successful technology companies and we are also proud to place Singapore on the global technology start-up map.”

The Creopop process solidifies resin via LED diodes which surround the nozzle of the pen which uses a selection of inks in different colors, elastic inks, magnetic inks, glow-in-the-dark inks, temperature sensitive ink and even a “body paint” ink.

“Of the 40 successful exits we’ve had so far, one was the 3D printing company Makerbot, which was acquired by Stratasys for $400 million,” says Khailee Ng, Managing Partner of 500 Startups. “We strongly believe in the 3D printing sector. CreoPop specifically will not only bring this game changing technology to wider commercial applications, but also into households. I grew up using Lego blocks to make 3D objects. This generation will grow-up using CreoPop.”

A crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo has already raised more than $185,690 on a campaign which sought just $40,000, so it seems the 3D printing pen was popular with individual investors as well.  Would you like to buy a CreoPop 3D printing pen? What uses can you see for this innovative technology? Let us know in the CreoPop forum thread on