3D Printing in the construction industry Part 2: The Best Projects
Last week we talked a lot about the benefits that Additive Manufacturing brings into the construction industry. 3D printing opens new design possibilities, brings the costs down and produces sustainable construction projects with low environmental impact. We talked theory before, now let’s move on to how the advantages of AM are applied in reality!
The best of 3D printed construction projects
We already talked about a family moving into a 3D printed house in France. In the other real-life examples, we will introduce you to some stunning projects from the Netherlands, Dubai’s 3D printed offices which were a pioneer for office architecture, to the first ever 3D printed bridge. How about manufacturing a house in one day? Is it possible? Let’s see how far the 3D technologies for the construction industry have come.
Build a House in 24 hrs?
Why not! Apis Cor is a Russian company specializing in 3D printers who can produce a contour crafted home in just 24 hours. Not only that, but the machines can also work in winter, they just have to be covered. 3D printers can be easily transported to the building site and within 30 minutes it’s ready to build your future house! The concrete is a special mix which hardens fast, allowing the printer to work fast. The company wanted to showcase also that the shape of buildings doesn’t have to be square, we can open architecture to take new forms.
3D printing a new life
New Story is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring homes to the poorest. They have built 850 houses worldwide in 3 years, but they knew they have to work faster. Brett Hagler, the CEO and co-founder of New Story, saw the potential of Additive Manufacturing. They developed new designs and construction solutions, enormously improving their building process and bringing the costs down. Thanks to 3D printing they were able to manufacture 100 contour crafted homes in just 8 months. That’s more than 12 houses per month, and for the organization, that means 12 families that finally received homes.
New Story was able to achieve so much thanks to a collaboration with Icon, who design the Vulcan mobile 3D printer. The machine can be easily moved to developing countries and can operate even without electricity. The printer is capable of building a 600 to 800 square foot house (55- 75 square meters) in just 24 hours. Thanks to 3D technologies the costs are established to be just 4 000$. This can truly change the future of housing and fighting homelessness.
An innovative form of offices
3D printing brings new forms into construction. Thanks to Additive Manufacturing the architects are no longer limited when it comes to abstract forms of the buildings and Dubai’s new offices proved that. They produced new, futuristic structures, assembled in just 17 days by 17 professionals. They are equipped with energy saving devices, which is very cost efficient. But also using 3D printing for construction already brought the labor costs down by 50%! Utilizing Additive Manufacturing allowed for massive cost reduction and was much faster than the traditional building process.
Stunning and marine-inspired facade
In 2016 the Netherlands was holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and to celebrate such important leadership a new facility was built for the politicians to gather. It was not just an ordinary, boring building. Given new design freedom by 3D printing, the architects built the extravagant facade, closely resembling a sail stretched over the building.
The curtain-like slits uncover blue benches which were 3D modeled geometrically and manufactured locally with a construction 3D printer. This innovative structure was produced with bioplastic, which was developed specially for this occasion. When the Dutch EU Presidency came to an end, the building was taken apart and the bioplastic was recycled to be reused for future 3D printing projects, which promotes and proves that construction industry can have low environmental impact thanks to 3D technologies.
3D printed bridges
Additive Manufacturing in the construction industry is not just about buildings. Applications of 3D printing can also be highly beneficial to manufacture bridges. Thanks to the ability to create some really complex structures, but also build strong, durable constrictions. We actually just wrote about the longest 3D printed bridge in the world printed recently in China!
But it wasn’t the first bridge ever. The pioneers in 3D printed bridges were the Netherlands. The construction in question was built for cyclists. It could handle the weight of 40 trucks and thanks to Additive Manufacturing is sustainable! The Netherlands seem to really see the potential of 3D technologies as the next project is also Dutch.
This bridge came to life with 3D technologies and was designed by MX3D. The company developed a special robotic arm which was capable of 3D printing with steel. This impressive construction has an abstract and bio-inspired design and the bridge basically builds itself thanks to 3D software the engineers elaborated.
3D printing homes with rice?
Additive Manufacturing is a great way to bring more sustainable architecture to life. Wasp, an Italian 3D printers’ manufacturer, developed the Gaia project. They manufacture contour crafted buildings with almost no material waste. The material used is raw earth and rice waste, both of which we have plenty. The structure of the walls allows for thermal insulation and natural ventilation. This project perfectly showcases that eco-friendly and fully functional architecture is totally possible thanks to 3D printing.
What is the future of construction with 3D printing?
It is definitely bright! New companies are developing XXL 3D printers, coming up with innovative solutions to change the construction industry. There are already families moving into 3D printed houses, and soon we will be able to deliver homes to rural parts of our planet. This is a truly revolutionary time for the construction industry and such huge development wouldn’t be possible without Additive Manufacturing technologies.
We might not 3D print houses at full scale yet, but we already have experience with architectural models. If you have 3D printing projects, don’t wait any longer and upload it today! Using 3D technologies to your benefit is easy, if you have any doubts, contact us, we’re here to help you improve your production.