All you need to know about 3D printed construction
From 3D printed structures of homes to structural bricks that support advanced cooling and heating within homes, the rate of innovation for 3D printing has grown
Dubai is set to build the world's first 3D printed office, as an initiative under the Museum of the Future, which was founded earlier in 2015 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.
In order to construct the building, a 20-foot tall 3D printer will build it layer-by-layer. Additional assembly on-site in Dubai is expected to last a few weeks.
The building will be printed using various materials, such as Special Reinforced Concrete (SRC), Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum (GRG), and Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP).
From 3D printed structures of homes to structural bricks that support advanced cooling and heating within homes, the rate of innovation for 3D printing has grown faster than expected.
An example is the development of 3D printed houses in China, where the endeavour was able to produce 10 homes in a day. With this in mind, the construction industry is starting to explore just what the technology could mean for our cities.
Louay Dahmash, head of middle east, Autodesk, explains the concept of 3D printing in construction:
1. What are the benefits of 3D printing in construction?
The new technology of 3D printing is set to leave the biggest impact as it continues to evolve and affect various industries across the spectrum.
Studies have strongly shown that the construction industry is ready to take advantage of 3D printing and its benefits.
One of the key advantages poised by this is that the industry has experience in computer aided manufacturing.
Some of the benefits to be attained include faster and more accurate construction of projects based on generated 3D designs, reduced labour cost, reduced waste generation, reduced health and safety risks and its environmentally friendly.
2. What are the challenges that 3D printing can pose for contractors?
For this type of technology to be successfully adapted by the construction industry, much further research has to be done to produce and refine 3D printers capable of working on both small and large scale projects.
Also employee numbers will be reduced in the industry, since the 3D printer does most of the work.
A limited number of materials can be used, since the same printer might not be able to print the required multiple materials.
Transportation and storage of the printer on site will be a challenge.
Conventional product manufacturing companies and plant renting companies could suffer as their products will no longer be required.
Additional time may be required on site if the components are created on site, which can increase the timeline for the project.
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3. Will a 3D printed building be able to withstand the harsh climatic conditions of the GCC?
Today, we are seeing the presentation of more benefits and advantages from this rapidly growing segment.
In fact, the architecture and building segments is predicted to increase its use of 3D printing, moving from small scale models to more significant prototypes of building elements and explorations of full-scale 3D printed structures on project sites.
The use of these new printing technologies makes the building process more efficient, less wasteful and safer.
The use of 3D printing is also expected to help give a boost in the move to replace old infrastructure or design new elements for it.
Industry experts have predicted that if these buildings are suited for Middle Eastern climate and can withstand the environmental extremes, then this will herald the start of a new wave of innovative 3D-printed low-rise buildings.
4. What are the trends in the GCC for 3D printed construction?
We have identified that 3D printing will be one of the key trends likely to dominate the building and design segments this year.
For the construction segment alone, data-rich 3D models created within a BIM workflow will increasingly be used on construction sites, which will definitely help increase accuracy, decrease rework and reduce cost and lead to greater sustainability, safety and productivity.
Alternative methods of construction have become a focus in the Middle East, with 3D-printing technology being at the fore.
We believe this modern and new method of construction will provide a very attractive solution to construction companies who wish to extend their projects to remote areas where traditional construction techniques prove to be very challenging.