These 400-square-foot tiny houses in a village for the homeless were made by a 3D printer — see inside the structures and how they were built

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The 3D-printed home built by Icon. Icon

Small Austin, Texas-based startup Icon is betting that 3D printing is the key to solving the US’ homelessness crisis and lack of affordable housing.

Last year, nonprofit Community First put $US18 million into a tiny home village in Austin to help the chronically homeless get off the street. The village had space for 180 residents, who live in 200-square-foot homes, pay about $US300 in rent, and have job opportunities on site. Now, Icon is bringing its 3D printing technology into the village to hopefully speed up the process, while also making it cheaper. The first residents are set to move in this spring.

Now might be an opportune time for these homes to be built. Experts suggest that COVID-19, the coronavirus disease, could pose a significant threat to homeless populations, who have higher risks of contracting infectious diseases than the general population.

Take a look here.


To start, Icon is building six homes in the village.

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3D-printed home. Icon

Source: Fast Company


Icon is using the same technology it showed off in Mexico last year, where it built two 500-square-foot homes and charged residents just $US20 in rent.

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3D-printed home. Joshua Perez/New Story

Source: Business Insider


The 400-square-foot homes in Austin will each have a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room.

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3D-printed home. Icon

Houses are printed three at a time using the Vulcan II printer to make the process faster and cheaper.

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Vulcan II 3D printer. Icon

Source: Icon


The Vulcan II prints out layers of Lavacrete, Icon’s custom proprietary concrete that is reportedly cheaper than typical building materials, and more resilient.

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Vulcan II 3D printer. Icon

Source: Icon, Fast Company


Icon cofounder Evan Loomis told Business Insider that a house can be printed in about 27 hours.

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Vulcan II 3D printer. Icon

Source: Business Insider


The printer is capable of printing structures as large as 2,000 square feet.

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Vulcan II 3D printer. Icon

The printer, which is remotely controlled by a tablet, is electrically powered and needs a crew of four to six people to build a house.

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3D-printed home. Icon

For now, the printer produces the walls of the home, while the rest of the construction is more traditional, with professionals laying a foundation and adding in features like a roof and windows.

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3D-printed home. Icon

Source: Fast Company


Icon is considering adding plumbing and electrical work to the printer, Fast Company reported.

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3D-printed home. Icon

Source: Fast Company


“Our hope is that this isn’t a novelty, but this is actually the new way of construction for the future,” Loomis told Business Insider.

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3D-printed home. Icon