Nonfiction in response to Life On Land
March 2019

Would You 3D Print Your Home?

By Grace Muresan

The United Nations designates Life on Land the15th Sustainable Development goal because, according to their website, "Deforestation and desertification – caused by human activities and climate change – pose major challenges to sustainable development and have affected the lives and livelihoods of millions of people in the fight against poverty." According to Alina Bradford, a Live Science Contributor, the two main reasons of deforestation are to make more land available for housing and urbanization and to harvest wood to create commercial items such as paper, furniture and homes. However, even after so much damage done to the forest, one of earth's most precious resources, the OECD Forum 2018 revealed that most countries report that of every 1000 people, 1 in 8 lack regular access to housing or are homeless.

                                                                                                         

In the US, Matt Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, spoke about how more and more people are victims of eviction due to the impossible demands put on them to meet exorbitant rents. Through his research, he has found people who spend over 90% of their income on rent alone – but even that is not exceptional. In cold, hard numbers, 2.3 million Americans were evicted from their homes in 2017, a likely underestimation of the size of the problem as that figure only accounts for formal evictions.

 

Don’t you wish that they could somehow, instantly, have a home like most of us? I think that the Vulcan 3D printer is the best invention of 2018 because it builds houses for the homeless. It is much faster and cheaper than regular house building, and the company that built Vulcan, ICON, has incredible goals for its device. Have you ever seen a 3D printer in action? They are interesting to watch, building layer after layer of plastic and leading to a majestically intricate piece with or without purpose. Now imagine an enormous 3D printer building a house out of cement. Quick and simple with endless possibilities, like printing plastic. But our current way of building houses takes months, people have to labor for it, and unlike a machine, a human can mess up in a nearly infinite number of ways. The Vulcan 3D printer is an innovation that can reimagine the world as we know it.

 

The Vulcan 3D printer can build houses more effectively and efficiently than regular ways of building houses. Evidence for this is that the Vulcan 3D printer has built a 350 square ft house in 48 hours, for only $10,000, while a house built normally can take from 5 months to 1 year to be built. The Vulcan 3D printer builds houses out of concrete and drywall. Making them out of concrete, despite not being the most common material, has its benefits, according to Jason Ballard, the founder of ICON. He says, “You not only have a continuous thermal envelope, high thermal mass, and near zero-waste, but you also have speed, a much broader design palette, next-level resiliency, and the possibility of a quantum leap in affordability.”

Using the Vulcan 3D printer to build houses instead of building them normally also saves time, money, resources, and human labor. All the resources saved in this process can be used to build more houses for any social class population instead of just people with inadequate housing, so the Vulcan 3D printer eventually overrides all other methods of house building. The money saved can be donated to schools so that kids have a chance to learn and get better jobs so as to not become homeless, and the people that would be the human labor in building the houses can spend time getting better jobs in STEM companies instead of doing jobs that machines can and will do, because tech is the future. The printer itself, while running, is also environmentally friendly. There is almost zero waste when building and the machine runs on electricity, so it doesn’t release greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
 

Despite having already reached new heights in engineering, ICON, the company that built Vulcan, has bigger, faster, and cheaper plans in mind for their device. ICON has raised $9 million dollars to improve their machine and build more houses. They now plan to be able to print a 2,000 square foot house in around 24 hours. Another of their goals is to have each house cost under $4,000, which is impressively inexpensive compared to similar houses in Silicon Valley that can cost from $900,000 to $2,000,000 to be built. As of now, ICON has printed 850 homes, which they plan for families to start using in 2019. As for the Vulcan 3D printer itself, ICON wants to make the printer able to print other insulators like foam or plastic, which will change housing and 3D printing as we know it.

 

In conclusion, I think, the Vulcan 3D printer is the best invention of 2018 in many ways. First of all, it builds houses for the homeless and people with inadequate housing. Another reason is that the Vulcan 3D printer can build houses much more efficiently than the regular ways of building houses. If the Vulcan 3D printer was used instead of all other house building methods, then the people who would be able to buy houses that couldn’t before and the saved human labor could find better jobs in the tech industry to make more devices that will change the world. If you believe in simplifying housing, to save people from skyrocketing prices and workers from injury, and if you believe in an advanced world where homes are easy and quick to produce and people don’t have to worry where they will sleep tomorrow, then spread the word about the Vulcan 3D printer. Donate to their cause to help them build houses for those without, and you will see the future unfold before your eyes.

 

Would you 3D print your home?

Sources

 

“Frequently Asked Questions.” ICON, www.iconbuild.com/faq.

 

“This Amazing 3D Printer Can Create A House In Just 48 Hours.” GOOD, 21 Mar. 2018, www.good.is/articles/3d-printed-house.

 

“Vulcan 3-D Printer Is One of TIME's Best Inventions of 2018.” Time, Time, www.time.com/collection/best-inventions-2018/5454284/icon-vulcan-3-d-printer/.

 

Anderson, Maxwell, and Maxwell Anderson. “We 3D Printed an Entire House in 24 Hours.


Bradford, Alina, "Deforestation: Facts, Causes, and Effects", https://www.livescience.com/27692-deforestation.html, April 3, 2018.
 

Dirwan, Grainne, “OECD Forum 2018: Housing”, https://www.oecd-forum.org/users/181548-grainne-dirwan/posts/39661-oecd-forum-2018-housing, Oct 10, 2018.
 

Here's the Story.” Medium.com, Medium, 18 Mar. 2018, www.medium.com/saturn-five/we-3d-printed-an-entire-house-in-24-hours-heres-the-story-85a289924241.

 

Warren, Tamara. “This Cheap 3D-Printed Home Is a Start for the 1 Billion Who Lack Shelter.” The Verge, The Verge, 12 Mar. 2018, www.theverge.com/2018/3/12/17101856/3d-printed-housing-icon-shelter-housing-crisis.

2018 Actions in Spotlight

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