• Last March, the 3D printing company Icon produced a 350-square-foot tiny home that cost $10,000 and took just 48 hours hours to build.
  • The company was confident that it could print a larger structure in just 24 hours for even less — around $4,000 — since the printer wasn't running at full speed.
  • A year after its prototype was released, Icon is now selling an upgraded version of its 3D printer.

Printable homes represent the latest wave in construction, but they're not always cheap or easy to build.

In March, New Story, a housing nonprofit based in San Francisco, and Icon, a construction-technology company that designs 3D printers, defied these stereotypes by producing a $10,000 tiny home in just 48 hours.

Icon called the structure "the first permitted, 3D-printed home in America."

Read more: A French family just became the first to permanently live in a 3D-printed home

At 350 square feet, the house was far cheaper than the average tiny home, which has a price tag hovering at around $25,000, but can often reach six figures. Before using 3D-printing technology, it took New Story eight months to build 100 homes, each costing about $6,000.

While the prototype was being developed, Icon's printer, known as the Vulcan, was running at only 25% speed. That gave the companies confidence that they could build a 600- to 800-square-foot home in just 24 hours for $4,000 or less.

When it comes to producing an average-sized home — around 2,000 square feet — the savings aren't quite as stark. A year after releasing its $10,000 prototype in Austin, Texas, Icon told the Wall Street Journal that printing a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $20,000.

More remarkable is the fact that the company's upgraded printer, the Vulcan II, is now available for purchase, and could soon be used to produce affordable homes in places like Austin and Latin America.

Icon's first 3D model offers a glimpse of what the machine could produce in the future. Take a look.

The Vulcan II can produce a home seamlessly onsite, without having to piece together individual units.

New Story/BANDD Designs

The printer churns out layers of cement, which amass to form the walls of the home. Non-printed fixtures like doors and windows are installed later.

The Vulcan II is capable of producing walls that are up to eight-and-a-half feet tall and up to 28 feet wide.

The printer is designed to be mobile and weighs about 3,800 pounds.

New Story/BANDD Designs

The Vulcan II is operated by a tablet, which means only a few workers are required to produce a 3D home.

It's also made to withstand rural weather conditions, meaning it could operate during a power shortage or without access to potable water.

New Story/BANDD Designs

The home's cement mixture is also able to withstand extreme weather conditions.

The New Story prototype features a living room, a single bedroom and bathroom, and a small office space.

New Story/BANDD Designs

Families in El Salvador could move into the 350-square-foot homes this year, following seismic and safety tests.

New Story/BAAND Designs

Icon and New Story plan to produce more than 100 homes in El Salvador, a country whose rough terrain and frequent floods have made housing construction difficult.

New Story is seeking $1 million to print the homes, CNN reported last year.

From there, they hope to provide safe homes to some of the 1.3 billion people around the world residing in slums.

Icon will begin shipping its upgraded printer in April.

New Story/BANDD Designs

An Austin-based developer called Cielo Property Group is planning to use the printer to build affordable homes in the area.

The next stop? It could be 3D-printing in space.

New Story/BANDD Designs

Icon is researching how its printing technology might be used to build space habitats. As the company put it: "It sounds crazy, but it would be a lot crazier to fly sheet rock and 2x4's to Mars."