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Far away on the outskirts of a town in Southern Mexico lies the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood. It is an area of 500-square-foot houses built by a gigantic 33-foot-long3D printer.
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The project is the brainchild of not-for-profit New Story. The organization aims to find a solution for the 3 billion people who will be living without access to adequate shelter by 2050.
Proving what's possible
“We feel like we’ve proved what’s possible by bringing this machine down to a rural area in Mexico, in a seismic zone, and successfully printing these first few houses,” said Brett Hagler, CEO, and co-founder of New Story, to Fast Company.
The firm claims to research "breakthroughs in homebuilding." That's why it partnered with Austin-based construction tech company Icon to develop a 3D printer that could tackle even the most extreme conditions.
Icon's printer, Vulcan II, is now helping print 50 Mexican homes. The new resulting neighborhood will be the first to use this technology at scale.
The area where the homes are being printed has a high risk of earthquakes. Therefore, the new homes had to go through several engineering structural tests.
However, the printer performed well when it came to creating the homes and better yet it did so autonomously. Although minor adjustments to the blueprint could be made on site.
The machine even allows multiple houses to be printed simultaneously. The final homes have two bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and a bath.
“For a majority of the families, this is the first time ever that they will have indoor restrooms and plumbing and sanitation,” said New Story co-founder Alexandria Lafci. New Story partnered with the local government to ensure the homes went to the 50 families most in need.
Now, the same procedure could be used to provide affordable housing in the U.S. and beyond.