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First 3D printed communities to arrive this year

ICON has officially announced the Vulcan II – the improved version of its gantry-style 3D printer that is bringing affordable homes to slums around the world.

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The first 3D printed homes are set to arrive in Latin America this year

The Austin-based construction technologies company has announced it will begin shipping of the 3D printer next month – but it has also partnered with various non-profits and developers to utilise its technology in aiding the global housing crisis.

By partnering with non-profit housing organisation New Story, ICON has been working to bring affordable housing to some of the world’s developing countries and brought the first permitted 3D printed home to Texas with the Vulcan I.

“Vulcan II is ready to move out of ICON’s lab and into the world next month to begin its very important work of delivering affordable, resilient, dignified housing around the world,” the company says in a statement.

“Vulcan II is the first printer of its kind in that it has the capability of printing homes in which people actually want to live,” the firm continues. “It can be operated by anyone with basic training thanks to the improvements in automation, mechatronics and a suite of specialised software.”

ICON unveils the Vulcan II 3D printer

The first home, a 350sq ft structure built in Austin, cost $10,000 and took 48 hours to print. The Vulcan II, the company says, offers four times the print area size of the Vulcan I and is 2.5 times faster, allowing for more homes to be printed in less time – a current restriction to conventional construction methods.

“We believe the gantry-style architecture of [this] printer is the fastest, most reliable, and easiest-to-control approach to 3D printing one and two-storey buildings,” ICON adds.

New Story is just one partner ICON is working with in 2019; sustainable housing organisation 3Strands Neighborhoods is also planning to use the technology.

“ICON is leading the way on truly transformational approaches to how we build homes,” says Gary O’Dell, chief executive officer and co-founder of 3Strands Neighborhoods. “The Vulcan II, and other innovations, will allow us to drive down the costs of building and operating new homes and in turn reduce the stress of housing in people’s lives.”

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