New Vulcan 3D Printer Can Spit Out Bigger Buildings, House Zero Comes as Proof

Even if you’re not all that into construction work and equipment, the name ICON might ring a bell. It’s the company behind one of the most insane 3D printers out there, a piece of hardware that can print buildings for whatever use.
Vulcan 3D printer 4 photos
Photo: ICON
Vulcan 3D printerVulcan 3D printerVulcan 3D printer
This past year, we’ve seen the printer, named Vulcan, make a structure during a U.S. Marine Corps exercise, a building large enough to house a HIMARS multiple launch rocket system. And then came news of the company being funded by NASA to come up with a solution that would allow for the construction of a base on the Moon using locally sourced materials.

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.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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