Vulcan I

3-D Printing an End to Homelessness

ICON Vulcan 3-D printer

Earlier this year, Texas startup ICON turned heads after building a 350-sq.-ft. dwelling in 48 hours from start to finish. Its not-so-secret weapon: the Vulcan 3-D printer, a groundbreaking machine that erects the basic structure of a home, layer by layer, from concrete—at a fraction of the material and labor costs of traditional methods. ICON, which spent nine months developing Vulcan, has raised $9 million to improve its functionality, aiming to print a 2,000-sq.-ft. house in just 24 hours. ICON is also working with New Story, a housing nonprofit focused on Latin America and the Caribbean, to bring Vulcan to regions in need of cheap, durable housing solutions. But eventually CEO Jason Ballard envisions a future in which anyone can build a custom abode. “This isn’t science fiction,” he says. —Eli Meixler

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