There seems to be no shortage of applications for 3D printing technology.
Although it is a comparatively new procedure, creative thinkers in the construction and agriculture industries are already developing ways to use it in housebuilding.
3D Printing Technology in Construction
While 3D printers are often viewed as small machines that build digital models out of plastic, there is an evolving new level of 3D printing technology that includes industrial-sized printers designed for more significant projects. It has the potential to reduce labour, costs, and materials and make the design and construction process more efficient.
Companies with working prototypes of these large printers include Apis Cor, whose device can create a 400 sq. ft. building in less than a day. Such a project cost just over $10,000, materials and labour included. Manual labour was only needed for wiring, plumbing, insulation, and roof installation.
Instead of using the photopolymer resin common to 3D printing, the large construction project printers typically use a concrete composite. CyBe uses 3D printing technology to create a special mortar that dries within an hour of being printed. Another construction company, Cazza, uses a mix that contains up to 80% recycled material.
What about building a skyscraper?
The concept of 3D printing technology is still new, so printed skyscrapers won’t be appearing overnight. There is still some work to be done before it meets required building codes, which also happen to vary from one region to the next.
Experts say that 3D printing companies need to prove that the technique produces buildings that are sturdy and can stand the test of time and weather. In countries with construction regulations and standards, 3D printing in construction is being used for concepts, prototypes, and some types of decorative architecture.