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This Entire ‘Village’ Was Built From Ground Up With A Single 11-Foot 3D Printer
By Ell Ko, 30 Sep 2021
Image via New Story
3D printing has seen its dramatic growth this year, with the once-futuristic technology now becoming more commonly used across all sectors, including housing. And now, it’s being leveraged for community-building, too.
Nacajuca, Mexico, is seeing a new “village” of small, 3D-printed housing to offer better living environments for underprivileged families.
This comes as a result of a new partnership between New Story, a nonprofit based in San Francisco; Échale, a social housing production company based in Mexico; and Icon, a Texas construction tech company.
Each home is a single-story build that measures around 500 square feet. Every one comprises two bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and indoor plumbing—something many residents didn’t previously have.
Image via New Story
These were printed by Icon’s 3D printer, dubbed the Vulcan II. It’s 11 feet tall and has printed around 200 homes for New Story so far. This is the same printer that was behind the first 3D-printed homes for sale in the US.
Building a house is akin to piping icing onto a cake with this printer: layers of ‘Lavacrete’—Icon’s concrete mix—are printed and poured on top of each other. The process can be controlled by a smartphone and doesn’t require an entire construction team. Plus, a single home can be constructed in less than 24 hours.
“If you came to Nacajuca when the 3D printer was there, you would see machinery that looked like a RoboCop movie,” Francesco Piazzesi, Échale’s chief executive, says to the New York Times.
Even though they’re small, they’re sturdy: Nacajuca happens to be located in a seismic zone, and was hit with a magnitude 7.4 earthquake after the houses were installed—and they were strong enough to withstand that.
Apart from houses, the project also includes plans for roads, a school, a soccer field, a market, and a library.
Henry D’Esposito, in charge of construction research at commercial real estate firm JLL, tells the New York Times that 3D printing “really is a very effective and efficient way to build a small segment of properties.” However, because the technology is so new, there’s no telling how durable they’ll be down the line.
It had better be long-lasting, though. Because Icon and NASA are planning to print a habitat on the Moon.
[via The New York Times, images via New Story]
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