In the 1980s, Chuck Hull of 3D systems produced the first ever 3D printed object, a tiny cup that could serve as an eye wash. Last year, the first 3D printed house received its building permit in Austin, Texas and was constructed. It generated a lot of buzz around the incredible things the technology is capable of, and construction technologies startup ICON partnered with the nonprofit New Story began raising funds to construct homes for low-income families in Latin America.
Today, the proof-of-concept has turned into something much bigger. New Story has announced the construction of their first community of 3D printed homes in the southern state of Tabasco, Mexico. At completion, there will be 50 3D printed houses, and the first two of them were recently unveiled.
The community will consists of 'tiny houses' at 500 square feet, but each come with two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. Each house can be printed in an amazing 24 hours using a printer call the Vulcan II.
Jason Ballard, co-founder of ICON says that speed isn't the printer's only advantage. “With 3D printing, you not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability. This isn’t 10 percent better, it’s 10 times better.”
The Vulcan II works by pouring a concrete mix into a pattern laid out by software one layer at a time. Local contractors are employed to prepare and finish the homes, including land clearing, foundations, doors, windows, and roofs.
New Story partnered with local government programs to select families with the greatest financial and physical needs. They will receive zero-interest, zero-profit mortgages and pay only 400 pesos ($20) per month for 7 years, with the remainder of the cost subsidized by New Story and funded by private donors.
Families will be able to move into the homes upon completion in 2020.