3D printing – The future of buildings

3D printing – The future of buildings
The art of 3D printing could change the way we design and construct homes. Towards the end of 2018 Russian company Apis Cor were able to construct the walls of a building in around 24 hours. The cost of the build was under ten thousand dollars, which is much cheaper and faster than houses made the old fashioned way. New Story charity also print 3D homes. They work alongside the company ICON and plan to make the world’s first 3D printed community by the end of 2019.

The future of building construction may just be in the innovation of 3D printing. Although that term actually covers a complex and multifaceted industry that relies on much more than just the printing technology. Logically, the success of building homes or offices with 3D printers largely depends on the materials used. Printers simply can’t work in the same way as human construction workers. The printer needs to use additive manufacturing, which involves many different innovations.

This is the science of 3D printing construction

The most important aspect of 3D printing in construction is the materials used. Typically, 3D printed houses are made from a specially formulated combination of materials. These materials comprise of recycled goods, soil and cement that is formulated to dry quickly and maintain strength. The technology behind the materials allow the constructions to keep their shape and ensure that the fabrications are strong. This means that the buildings will be structurally sound and able to withstand numerous potential weather conditions from tornados to extreme heat waves. One important issue to factor in is the speed at which the cement mixture dries. It’s important to make sure the mixture sets quick enough, but not too quick as to set inside the printer machine itself.

The printing machine is vital to the success of 3D printed construction. The speed and size of the printers need to be articulated so that they are universal and powerful enough to make large scale buildings. Each layer needs to be regimented to the same width, height and density of the last, otherwise the structure won’t hold. The top contenders in the field are constantly working on these factors.

So the process of making a 3D house starts with a 3 dimensional design, developed with software that then instructs the printing machine to print the materials layer on layer until the building is complete. The printers can make the foundation, interior and exterior walls of the buildings, replacing many aspects of conventional building construction.

How will 3D printing affect global construction?

Putting the obvious cost reductions aside, the global 3D printing construction industry will have far reaching effects on a global scale. Not only will this technology reduce the supply costs through recycling, but it can also reduce the waste that is produced in construction. This technology can increase the competiveness across construction companies, which should decrease the cost to consumers.

The biggest and most satisfying reward of 3D printing will be the ability to build cost effective, eco friendly and fast housing for less developed countries. With this technology, those who go without a door or adequate shelter will benefit the most.

This is a disruptive and innovative concept that fits snuggly with smart city development. Imagine a world where your 3D printed homes can communicate with your government services. Where you can integrate technology into the very essence of your home. The possibilities are out there, ready and waiting to be thought up and printed out.

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