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Interesting Read: 3-D Printed Homes Becoming a Reality

By: Marie Fleming (CEO Gold Bridge Capital Solutions)

3-D Printed Homes

These 400-square-foot houses are the nation’s first 3-D-printed residences, according to Icon. Its process which incorporates an 11-foot-tall printer that weighs 3,800 pounds relies on robotics. Beads of a pliable concrete material dubbed Lavacrete ooze from the behemoth printer in ripples that stack and harden into a wall with curved corners.

The idea is to cut the time and as much as half the cost associated with traditional construction, limit the environmental footprint and trim the number of workers on crews, said Jason Ballard, Icon’s co-founder and CEO.

The process, he added, also could allow more design freedom.

“Because 3-D printing uses slopes and curves, in the future new design languages will emerge that are only accessible through 3-D printing,” Ballard said.

Icon has generated interest from the federal government, including NASA and the

Defense Department, whose Defense Innovation Unit is focused on strengthening national security with new commercial technology. The unit (which has an Austin office) is working under a contract with Icon to train Marines and develop prototype structures that can be built quickly for its military and humanitarian needs. In late January, about a dozen Marines trained for a week at Icon. Further training is planned later this year at Camp Pendleton in California.

Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson visited Austin twice last year, checking out Icon headquarters and touring the village.