Innovation Stations – Sustainable 3D Printed Homes Across the Universe!

Innovation Stations – Sustainable 3D Printed Homes Across the Universe!

05th June 2018

Here at Safety Fabrications we take a keen interest in industry news so that we can keep our readers up to date with what’s going on in our sector.  We’re particularly interested in innovation, new technology, progress in both materials and techniques – in fact anything that represents progress in what was, until recent years, a very traditional industry.  There have been so many exciting developments in recent years and last month we brought you some news on Future Trends in construction which included the fact that 3D printing, a relatively new technology that has progressed in leaps and bounds, is having a disruptive effect on our sector.  Now we’ve come across some more news on 3D printing, news that’s likely to have many of us sitting up and taking notice just because it’s so cool and has so much potential to benefit people in the poorest countries of the world.

A housing charity organisation in America, New Story, has teamed up with construction technology company ICON in a bid to end global homelessness by 3D printing houses.  With an ultimate goal to reduce costs to $4,000 (just over £3,000) per house and a print time of less than 24 hours, these houses look set to address one of the burgeoning issues of our time.  A prototype house was recently built in Texas with the mortar printed layer upon layer.  Windows, doors, plumbing and electrical systems were installed by humans to produce a home measuring 650 square feet with a living room, small office, one bedroom and one bathroom.  ICON staff are using the prototype as an office to test its durability. 

Before embarking on 3D printing homes, ICON had to develop a 3D printer capable of printing a whole house but that’s just the beginning of the story.  The intention is to take this technology to El Salvador and build a whole community of 3D printed houses and eventually to provide 3D printed houses in the developing world, printing entire villages.  According to ICON, “sustainable 3D printed home building will allow for safer, more affordable homes for more families, faster than ever”. 

ICON’s vision is to create sustainable building practices to make quality homes accessible to everybody, tackling a global pandemic of homelessness, a worthy mission statement.  The very first of their 3D printed houses took 48 hours to complete and cost around $10,000 (£7,500) and ICON hopes to start printing 3D homes in the USA at the beginning of next year.  In fact, the aim of the project is to allow people to download and print their own homes and hope to start working with individuals who want to do so in the near future. 

In an even more futuristic ambition, ICON is researching printing technologies for “off-planet space habitats”, aiming not just to provide 3D printed homes on Earth but in space too!  Just take a look at the YouTube video that shows how easy it is to 3D print a home.