3-D Printed Homes Are Becoming a Reality

Could more future homes be 3-D printed? A San Francisco–based charity called New Story has partnered with construction technology company ICON to design a 3-D printer for building affordable homes across the globe in developing countries. The company is also showing off its 3-D construction progress in the U.S.

The companies have a 350-square-foot home in Austin, Texas, which they are touting as the first 3-D printed house in the country that has been built to the local building code.

The home is serving as a prototype of what the future may hold. New Story and ICON’s 3-D home printer can print an entire 600- to 800-square-foot home that meets safe building codes in less than 24 hours.

“We feel it’s our responsibility to challenge traditional methods and work toward ending homelessness,” Brett Hagler, CEO and co-founder of New Story, told hypepotamus.com. “Linear methods will never reach the billion-plus people who need safe homes.”

New Story will begin printing homes that meet the International Building Code standards in El Salvador within the next 18 months. It will be its first community of 3-D printed homes.

“There are over 100 million people living in slum conditions in what we call survival mode,” says Alexandria Lafci, New Story’s co-founder and COO. “How can we make a big dent in this instead of just solving incrementally?”

New Story says it takes about eight months to construct a community of 100 homes using 3-D printing. The homes cost about $6,000 each. Further, the company says it can build one home per day at a cost of $4,000 each using the 3-D printer.

Companies have been experimenting with 3-D printing in the housing industry for the last few years. In 2013, WinSun, a Chinese construction company, printed 10 homes in a day. It later printed a six-story apartment, an office building, and an 11,000-square-foot mansion.

“It will [still] take many years before 3-D-printed homes are printing the types of homes that you and I would live in, but the tech is ready now to print very high-quality, safe homes in the places we’re building,” says Lafci.

Source: “The Quest to Bring 3-D-Printed Homes to the Developing World,” Wired.com (March 12, 2018) and “Home Building Startup New Story Unveils 3D-Printed House at SXSW to Shelter the Developing World,” Hypepotamus.com (March 12, 2018)