For many families around the world, a safe shelter to call their own is perpetually out of reach. Now imagine building a 650 square-foot home in 24 hours for less than $4,000. It sounds impossible right? Well this video demonstrates how the cutting-edge power of 3D printing is tackling the global issue of homelessness, one line of concrete at a time. New Story, a non-profit organization working to end homelessness, and ICON, a construction technologies company, have partnered together to build this proof-of-concept design. With bright walls, light fixtures and higher ceilings, the home feels bigger than its actual square footage. Its successful completion is the starting point for Phase Two of the project: Printing an entire village for homeless families in El Salvador.

Home building has not kept up with demand and population growth, contributing to a growing global housing crisis. Because traditional home building methods are often inefficient and wasteful, it drives up costs past the point of affordability for the average person. High costs also mean providing adequate shelter in developing countries can be extremely difficult. As a result, over one billion people globally do not have access to adequate shelter andndash; and the number continues to grow. The three key issues of affordability, availability and sustainability are what drove ICON to develop its 3D house printing system.

The Vulcan is ICON’s 3D printer designed specifically to produce durable single-story buildings faster, more affordably and with more design freedom. It is a tablet-operated robotic printer with an integrated material delivery system and proprietary cement-based material for building homes. As seen in the video, the printer lays a one-inch tall, two-inch wide print bead of Lavacrete at a speed of five to seven inches per second. The mixture can be adapted to local conditions such as high humidity, hardens quickly, and has a compressive strength of 6,000 psi. This is well above the strength of existing building materials and is especially important for homes built in areas prone to seismic activity. After completing a home’s basic structure, human workers then install windows, doors, plumbing, residential floor coatings and electrical systems.

The Phase Two project in El Salvador will serve families without access to adequate housing, many of whom live in makeshift homes of scrap wood, metal and plastic tarps. When finished, the community will house more than 400 individuals. The home recipients are hardworking families who have never owned a home, and for whom homeownership is completely out of reach. The average family in the community is four individuals who are living on less than $200 per month.

Now that you have seen how quickly and easily a 3D printed home is made, would you ever consider a 3D printed home for yourself?

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