By Construction Tech Review | Thursday, October 15, 2020
3D printing in construction can either mean the use of a 3D printer attached to an arm or the use of printers in a factory, which creates components of a building project that are assembled later.
FREMONT, CA: 3D printing as a concept is not new; however, only in the last decade has the technology improved enough for it to become mainstream. In the futuristic world of 3D printing in construction, robotic arms automatically squeeze layers of cement, plastic, or other material onto a foundation and 'build' a structure. 3D printers are not like the one commonly used at homes and in offices. A software program, 'infroms' the printer regarding the dimensions of the end product. The printer then injects the material on a platform according to that plan. 3D printers usually use liquid metals, plastics, cement, and numerous other materials, which then cool or dry to form a structure.
Here are several benefits of 3D printing.
• Zero waste construction- In the UK, nearly a third of the country's waste is generated by the construction industry. Although a good portion of this comes from demolition, building sites are usually wasteful too. It is common practice to order more materials than are required, which is costly and inefficient. By contrast, 3D printing has the power to cut waste to nearly zero. A 3D printer only utilizes the material required to print the structure – no more or less. This could translate into huge savings.
• Time and cost reduction- As with AI in construction, a 3D printer can work 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This means construction projects can potentially be completed much faster, and some low skilled labor costs could be avoided.
• Supports unusual designs- One of the most appealing characteristics of 3D printers is their ability to create intricate and unique designs, including 'one-offs'. Because 3D printers work by layering up material, they can be programmed to create unusual shapes, which would be much harder to build using traditional techniques.