Homebuilder hopes 3D printing will solve worker shortages, tests tech in 100 homes

Icon's Vulcan construction system 3D-prints walls layer by layer using specially formulated concrete.

Enlarge / Icon’s Vulcan construction system 3D-prints walls layer by layer using specially formulated concrete. (credit: ICON Technology, Inc.)

Construction companies have been experimenting with 3D printing for years, but next year, a major homebuilder is going to break ground in Austin, Texas, on what will be the largest such development to date.

The new community will consist of 100 homes built with first floors made from 3D-printed concrete and finished using traditional wood-frame construction techniques. Construction technology startup Icon will be handling the 3D-printing portion, and Lennar, a large homebuilding firm, will finish them off. Bjarke Ingles Group, known for its creative and whimsical buildings, is assisting with the design.

Icon had previously built four homes in Austin using its 3D-printing technology. “We’re sort of graduating from singles and dozens of homes to hundreds of homes,” CEO Jason Ballard told The Wall Street Journal.

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