Silicon Valley Is Now 3-D Printing Homes at $4K a Pop

Sweaters, motorcycles, cocktails … 3D printers are handling whatever we throw at ‘em like seasoned vets.

Pretty soon that growing list will include neighborhoods.

That’s right. New Story, a Silicon Valley-based non-profit that’s constructed over 1,300 homes in developing communities in Latin America, has paired with Icon, a tech construction company, to maximize its development by turning to 3D-printed homes. Named the Vulcan, Icon’s massive printer can churn out a 600-800 square foot home in less than 24 hours, at just under $4,000 each. And the style? Nothing to scoff at. Think a Pueblo-reminiscent compromise of charming and durable. A sample model will be unveiled at SXSW today.

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Once the printer’s done spitting concrete, only two to four workers are needed to set everything up. The rooftop is added the old-fashioned way. Each home’s mortar blend mixes materials that wouldn’t be hard to come by anywhere in the world, (ideal for impoverished communities, or areas recovering from natural emergencies). And the 3D-printer is tough/agile enough to be transported through such downtrodden areas so it can get right to work.

In an age where (outside of the medical community) many 3D-printed oddities cater to wealthy enigmatics, it’s refreshing to see New Story’s mission to use this machinery to enact innovative (and environmentally friendly, it should be noted) change. The company’s leaders talk at length about dreams of democratizing the technology, perhaps selling it to governments, and they’re headed themselves to El Salvador to begin printing homes this year.

And if I’m a betting man, HGTV will greenlight a 3D-printed homes TV show by the end of this sentence.