Culture 3 min read

Non-Profit Unveils World’s First 3D Printed Community in Mexico

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Matjazz /

Housing non-profit, New Story, has unveiled the world’s first 3D printed community in rural Mexico.

The use of 3D printing in architecture is not new.

We’ve seen the technology put to use in the construction of structures such as offices and houses. In 2014, a Chinese company used 3D printing to build ten houses in a day.

So, the idea of using 3D-printing technology to provide affordable housing has been around for a while.

Last year, New Story partnered up with a construction technology firm, Icon, to provide low-cost 3D printed homes. Together, they debuted an initial proof-of-concept model in Texas.

The Quest to 3D Print an Affordable House

The team created the model using Vulcan – a mobile 3D printer developed by Icon.

Like the regular 3D printers used in construction, the Vulcan slowly built up layers until it completed the basic house structure. Then, humans had to add the finishing touches such as a roof, windows, etc.

The proof-of-concept model took 48 hours and cost $10,000 to make. And it resulted in a home that measured just 32   m. At the time, New Story expressed interest in reducing the total printing time and cost to 24 hours and $4,000, respectively.

That was March 2018. Fast-forward to May 2019 and construction of the world’s first 3D printed neighborhood kicked off. Yves Béhar‘s design firm, Fuseproject, and social housing organization, Échale, were now onboard too.

Also, Icon had created a successor to the original 3D printer, the Vulcan II. According to the construction technology firm, the new printer could print structural elements in 24 hours.

Not only is the Vulcan II more portable, but it also produces zero waste. What’s more, the printer remained functional in testing scenarios where power, water, or typical labor infrastructure may be absent.

The last point was vital because it was the first step towards creating a 3D printed community in rural Latin America.

Unveiling the World’s First 3D Printed Community

It’s been more than a year since New Story revealed its ambitious project, and the plans are finally in action. The non-profit has unveiled a 3D printed community, which is currently under construction in Tabasco, southeastern Mexico.

While the team has only printed two 3D houses at the moment, the plan is to create 50 homes.

The finished homes measure 46.5 sq m, with an interior that’s laid-out on one floor. It’s divided into a living room, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It also includes a small porch area to dine outside.

The 3D printed homes also come with electrical and water hookups. And according to New Story, these provisions will withstand both the local seismic conditions and the test of time.

The chosen families will receive the 3D printed homes at a zero percent interest. There’s also a zero profit mortgage that costs about $20 per month, which will run for seven years.

Read More: 5 Industries Revolutionized by 3D Printing

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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