Jason Ballard, the chief executive officer (CEO) of 3D-printing company Icon, has a bold vision for the future of housing. He believes that 3D-printed homes can solve the global housing crisis, build sustainable infrastructure on the moon and even help us colonize Mars.
Ballard’s company is already working on a number of projects to make this vision a reality. On Earth, Icon is printing communities of affordable homes in Texas and California. And in partnership with NASA, Icon is developing 3D-printing technology to build structures on the moon using lunar regolith, the powdery soil that covers the moon’s surface.
Icon’s ambitious partnership with NASA adds another dimension to their journey. By the end of the decade, one of Icon’s 3D printers is slated to venture to the moon, collaborating with NASA to print a portion of a lunar landing pad. In the United States, they are also addressing housing deficit of approximately 3.8 million units. This is because traditional housing has become financially out of reach for many, with only 21 per cent of homes on sale considered affordable for the average buyer.
3D-printed homes offer a number of advantages over traditional construction methods. They are faster and cheaper to build, and they can be designed to be more hurricane-resistant and environmentally friendly. Additionally, 3D printing can be used to create complex architectural designs that would be difficult or impossible to build using traditional methods.
Icon’s process involves mixing dry concrete powder with water, sand, and additives. A robotic printer follows a pre-programmed plan, layering the concrete mixture to form walls. Each layer hardens in about 30 minutes, with steel reinforcement added every tenth layer.
The sources for this piece include an article in CBSNEWS.