The machine at the core of all this is an impressive piece of engineering. We're talking about the Vulcan, an 11.5-foot (3.5-meter) tall monster that spits layer upon layer of a substance called Lavacrete, a type of polymer concrete. It was designed to make walls as high as 8.5 feet (2.5 meters) and foundations as wide as 28 feet (8.5 meters).
This week, ICON announced a new generation of the printer. Larger (9,500 lbs/4.3 metric tons) and faster than before, it is now capable of 3D printing homes and structures up to 3,000 square feet (279 square meters) in size.
To prove the concept, ICON showed together with Lake Flato Architects the so-called House Zero, which may very well be the first home designed with 3D printing manufacturing in mind.
It is currently under construction in East Austin, and it comes with three bedrooms, two baths, and an accessory dwelling unit. ICON does not say when the project will be completed.
To date, there are about two dozen ICON 3D-printed homes in the U.S. and Mexico, “the most completed by any construction tech company.” Several other projects are in the works, including social housing, disaster relief housing, and market-rate housing.