AUSTIN, TEXAS - September 11, 2019: The new welcome center at the Community First Village. CREDIT: Philip Cheung.

ICON VULCAN is a 3D printer that can build a home in a day

Because we can. But in 27 hours really

ICON develops advanced construction technologies that advance humanity by using 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials.

ICON has unveiled its next generation “Vulcan” 3D printer for homes and began shipping the award-winning technology to begin its very important work of delivering affordable, resilient, dignified housing around the world.

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

The new VULCAN II (two) is 2.5x faster, is tablet-based controls, has an advanced UI and 4x larger print area, automated material mixing, pumping, and delivery, safety features, remote monitoring, and on-board lighting for printing at night or in low-light conditions and more.

Watch the VULCAN II in action

The current technology is focused on single-story structures. We look forward to future advancements and delivering multi-story projects. Once the concrete walls can sustain a load of 3000-6000 PSI, ICON will be able to build multi stories.

How long are the 3D printed houses expected to last that ICON has printed?

The printed homes are expected to last as long or longer than standard Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) built homes. The homes are built to the International Building Code (IBC) structural code standard.

How long does it take to 3D print a home using ICON’s technology?

Currently we have printed homes ranging from 400-500 square feet using the Vulcan 3D printer for homes, with each home taking around 24 hours to complete the wall system. This is spread across several days. We have printed three homes at a time in Austin, TX and two at a time, simultaneously, in Mexico, which further increases the speed in which we can deliver homes.

What is the process from start to finish of 3D printing a home?

Once the foundation has been poured and cured, the ICON team affixes two rails to the edge of the foundation. The Vulcan, a mobile, gantry-style 3D printer, arrives and rolls off the truck and onto the slab. The team completes a few software checks, gets the material ready via the Magma material delivery system and then begins to extrude layer by layer. The printer is operated with an ICON developed app for mobile devices such as a tablet or smartphone.

Why is 3D printing the most appropriate technology for addressing affordability and building performance in construction?

Conventional construction is slow, fragmented, wasteful, and has poor thermal properties which increase energy use, increase operating costs, and decrease comfort.  Also, conventional materials like drywall and particle board are some of the least resilient materials ever invented. By contrast, 3D printing offers the following:

  1. Speed
  2. Lack of manual labor
  3. Concrete is a well understood, affordable, resilient material
  4. Concrete has a high thermal mass (comfort & energy efficiency)
  5. 3D Printing produces a continuous, unbroken thermal envelope (comfort & energy efficiency)
  6. Replaces multiple systems of the home in one technology (foundation, structure, insulation, interior & exterior sheathing, moisture barrier, finished surfaces, etc.)
  7. Near zero waste
  8. Tremendous design freedom (curves and slopes are no more challenging or expensive than straight, plumb lines).

Print cost for 500sf house : 10K

Full buildout 35K /25K with Vulcan 2

Learn more about VUCLAN here

Jason Ballard, ICON founder gives a tour of the first prototype 3D-printer Home build by VUCLAN I (one) and explains the full process in this (long) but very informative video.

About ICON

ICON develops advanced construction technologies that advance humanity. Using proprietary 3D printing robotics, software and advanced materials, ICON is shifting the paradigm of homebuilding on Earth and beyond.

ICON build

ICON 3D Printing builds houses for the homeless in Austin TX

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