LOOK: 3D printed homes now a reality in Texas

House Zero in Austin Texas was built using Icon’s new construction methods. Picture: Icon/CaseyDunn

House Zero in Austin Texas was built using Icon’s new construction methods. Picture: Icon/CaseyDunn

Published Oct 17, 2023


With robotically-operated 3D printers that can construct the walls of a house using concrete, Texas-based start-up companies Hive3D and Icon claim they can solve issues around the housing crisis and climate change with the model.

In a small town in Texas, US, these companies are building a community of homes in Round Top using 3D printers and will form a basis of what they believe to be a revolution in the construction industry, the Texas Tribune reported.

Round Top is a small town that mainly attracts people for events and has a lot of Airbnb rentals at present.

Hive3D’s CEO Timothy Lankau believes the new way of building houses can save on wastage and help curb the climate change problem.

3D printing homes may be a fairly new concept in the US, but in 2017, a group of Russian companies called AMT-SPECAVIA built the first 3D printed house for a family in Yaroslavl, all3Dp reported.

The liveable home was constructed with a cement-based mixture called M-300 sandcrete with the S-6044 construction 3D printer.

In 2018, Icon, a construction company from Austin, Texas, exhibited its first ever 3D printed home.

Icon’s CFO Tom vonReichbauer, told the Texas Tribune he is using a “concrete like” material, that is processed in a way which emits far less carbon to that of conventional concrete.

The walls of a small home can be built in 24 hours using a 3D printer, while a larger home needs around 10-45 days to construct.

“When you take construction, and you bring automated technologies to it and do robotic construction, you're able to help shrink the timeline it takes to build a home,” vonReichbauer was quoted saying.

Icon has been involved in a number of robotic construction projects, including on the moon one day, according to its website. Yes, the moon up in the sky.

Icon received the nod on Project Olympus last year after they were given a contract by Nasa to further research and development of lunar construction systems.

Back on earth, Icon is also challenging the large-scale 3D printing capabilities by attempting to construct a development called “El Cosmico”, which is to be a hotel/lifestyle project.