It cost $10,000 to print and was built in less than 48 hours.

By Andrea Beck
April 01, 2019

In the future, rather than spending weeks or months building the house of your dreams, you might be able to move in a lot sooner. Icon, a construction company that uses 3-D printing to build houses, and New Story, a non-profit dedicated to affordable housing, recently unveiled the first permitted 3-D printed tiny house in Austin, Texas.

Image courtesy of Icon.

The home is just 350 square feet, but it was printed and built in less than 48 hours—even quicker than Extreme Makeover: Home Edition! Icon’s 3-D printer, Vulcan, created the structure and is specially designed to make homes out of a concrete and mortar material.

This is the first 3-D printed tiny house to get a building permit in the United States, and it functions just like any traditional dwelling. Although primarily created with the printer, a few final features, like the roof, windows, doors, electrical components, and plumbing, were constructed using conventional building methods. And no need to worry about the elements—the house is designed to last just as long (if not longer) as a traditional home, though it's currently being used as an office.

Image courtesy of Icon.

Improving on its original design, Icon recently announced the Vulcan II 3-D printer. It covers a larger area than the original and prints twice as fast, making it possible to build a tiny house in less than a day.

New Story plans to use the Vulcan II this summer to break ground on the world’s first community of 3-D printed houses in El Salvador. Both printers were designed to work under conditions common in developing countries, like inconsistent power. According to New Story, about one billion people live without suitable shelter around the world, and they hope to help meet that need with 3-D printed homes that are quick and relatively cheap to build.

Image courtesy of Icon.

Both companies aim to print homes in less than 24 hours, but they’re setting their sights on more than just tiny houses. According to Icon, Vulcan II should be able to print a home around 2,000 square feet in just 72 hours or less. The first 3-D printed house in Austin cost about $10,000 to create, but with the Vulcan II, Icon is estimating the cost will be closer to $4,000 for 600- to 800-square-foot houses (which is still a fraction of what you might pay for a brand new house).

Image courtesy of Icon.

While you might not be able to move into a 3-D printed house just yet, you'll see them on the market sooner than imagined. Icon will start shipping the Vulcan II to a few early customers this month and will be taking orders for 2020. Before too long, you might just see 3-D printed houses popping up in your town.


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