ICON, which is one of Austin Inno’s 50 on Fire companies this year, is now on its second generation of 3D printers — the latest is called Vulcan II, the Vulcan ll, is available for purchase and is already being put to use.
The Vulcan II printer puts down layers of concrete that gradually build up the walls of the home, needing only a small team of people to remotely operate the machine via a tablet.
The large machines use robotics, automated material handling, advanced software and a proprietary concrete called Lavacrete to make the homes as efficiently and effectively as possible.
The printers, which transported in a custom trailer, are designed to work in areas where there is limited access to water, electricity, and the infrastructure necessary for traditional construction techniques—although, at least currently, it seems that some more standard construction is needed to finish off the 3D printed walls and turn them into a home.
ICON has also begun licensing its tech to others. Austin-based developer Cielo Property Group plans to start production of affordable housing in Austin this year using the Vulcan II, The Wall Street Journal reported.
An affordable 3D printed house
According to its creator, it can produce a 2,000 sq ft home in less than a week – although any non-concrete parts of the house will still need to be added manually – reducing both cost and waste
“Pinpointing an exact cost estimate is tricky, but the company successfully printed a 350-square-foot proof-of-concept home for $10,000 in 24 hours in 2018. We hope that this isn’t a novelty, but this is the new way of construction for the future,” Icon cofounder Evan Loomis said.
“The number of affordable homes in the US is dwindling, and there isn’t a lot of room to improve upon traditional home construction methods, especially when it comes to cutting costs,” Loomis said.