How an 11-foot-tall 3-D printer is helping build community.

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Three-dimensional printing can make almost any object. The partnership in Mexico is testing this idea, building a village for people living in poverty.

Pedro Garcia Hernandez, 48, is a carpenter in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco, a rain-covered area of ​​the country where nearly half the population lives below the poverty line.

He earns about 2,2500 paise (125 125.17) a month from a small workplace inside the house, which he shares with his wife, Petrona, and their daughter, Yareli. The house has dirt floors, and during the long rainy season in Tabasco, it is flooded. The dust from its construction projects covers almost everything in the house, clinging to the bedroom walls, the pump toilet and its makeshift kitchen counters.

But that will soon change. In a few months, Mr. Hernandez and his family will move into a new home on the outskirts of Nakajuka, Mexico: a beautiful, 500-square-foot building with two bedrooms, a full kitchen and bathroom, and indoor plumbing. The most unusual thing about the house is that it was built with an 11-foot-long three-dimensional printer.

A manufacturing process that creates layered objects from a digital file, 3-D printing is set for explosive development. The 3D printing market is projected to reach 55 55.8 billion by 2027, according to technology consulting firm Smithers.

Almost any item can be printed in 3-D. In construction, it uses concrete, foam and polymer to make full-scale buildings. The real estate industry is heating up the trend: construction firm SQ4D listed a 3-D printed home in Riverhead, NY this year for 299,000. It was first billed as a 3-D printed home for sale in the United States, but similar projects were predicted in France, Germany and the Netherlands.

And now, the era of the 3-D printed community has arrived. Mr. Hernandez’s home is one of 500 built by New Story, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that focuses on providing housing solutions to communities in extreme poverty, a social housing production company in Mexico, and In partnership with Icon, a construction technology company. In Austin, Texas.

When New Story founded the village in 2019, it was called the world’s first 3D printed home. After two years and an epidemic, 200 homes are either under construction or completed, 10 of which were printed on the site by the icon’s Vulcan II printer. Work is underway on road, soccer field, school, market and library projects.

Henry D. Esposoto, who conducts construction research at the commercial real estate firm, JLL, said single-family homes are a good testing ground for the sustainability of 3-D printed construction because they are small and frequently designed without much height. Offer the process. . They can also be built to withstand natural disasters: Nikajoka sits in the quake-hit area, and homes there have already withstood a 7.4 magnitude earthquake.

Technology is promising, but some investors are cautious, and are watching the emergence of 3-D housing clusters up close.

In March, Palari Homes and construction company Mighty Buildings announced a 15 15 million planned community of more than a dozen 3-D printed homes in Rancho Mirage, California.

That same month, Icon announced that it has partnered with developer 3Strands and the DEN Property Group on four 3-D printed homes in Austin, valued at 4 450,000 to 5 795,000. Icon also raids homes in Community First Village, Austin, a project of the non-profit organization Mobile Loose and Fish, which provides permanent housing for homeless men and women.

The 3D printing market grew 21 percent last year, and Habs, a manufacturing platform, plans to double that in the next five years.

“This is a very efficient and effective way to make a small part of the property, but it is not something that applies to the vast commercial real estate ecosystem,” said Mr de Esposito. “We don’t know exactly how these buildings will function in decades or what the long-term value of them will be. So if you’re talking to an investor or a lender, this is a big yellow flag. ۔

In Nacajuca, building a house with Icon’s Vulcan II printer looks like a massive soft-serve ice cream cone: layers of lavacrete, the company’s proprietary concrete mix, are poured one after the other in long cycles. The printer is controlled via a tablet or smartphone, requires a minimum of three workers and can complete the home in less than 24 hours.

Brett Hegler said, “We know that being able to build faster, without sacrificing quality, is something we have to take a big leap on if we are to put our teeth into the housing issue in our lives. have been.” The story’s chief executive and one of the four founders.

The organization was started in 2015, shortly after Mr Hegler visited Haiti and saw families living in tents even after the 2010 earthquake. Worldwide, 1.6 billion people live in inadequate housing, according to Habitat for Humanity.

“We’re really looking for the greatest opportunities to reap the benefits of both impact and performance,” said Alexandria Lafsey, one of the founders of the new story. Comes with 3-D printing. “

Speed ​​is just one factor in bringing the village to completion – the new story, along with local officials in Tabasco, has provided sewerage services, electricity and water to the community.

Mr Hernandez, who plans to expand his construction business to a larger location in his new home, said he was not considering a relocation date. She cares about the long-term effects at home of her daughter, who is studying to become a nurse.

“When we get home, my daughter will be able to trust him,” he said. “She doesn’t have to worry anymore.”

Lechale, who has been working in Mexico for 24 years, helped New Story select residents for new homes as needed. He decided to sign the titles of each house, not the whole family, but the woman of the house.

“It’s about protecting the family,” said Lechale chief executive Francisco Piazzesi. “A man will sell a house when he needs it. A woman will do what she needs to do to save the house for her children and her family.

Lechale hires local workers to build their communities, so installing a 3-D printer in a rural village center from an American tech company was a change.

“If you come to Nakajuka with a 3-D printer, you will see machinery that looks like a RoboCop movie,” said Mr Piazzi. “It’s creating opportunities for people because something enters the community and it stays.”

Icon has provided more than two dozen 3D-printed homes in the United States and Mexico. His upcoming projects range from social housing to disaster relief housing to market rate real estate. A project is also underway with NASA to develop a space-based construction system, which it hopes will eventually serve as a home on both the moon and Mars.

Jason Ballard, the founder and chief executive of Icon, said that when Icon was founded, the biggest obstacle was convincing skepticism.

“I had builders and developers who explained to me how it was not possible to get concrete to do this, until I took them to my 3-D printed house,” he said. “Our biggest challenge now is to make more printers.”

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