How are 3d Printers Used in the Construction Industry?

How are 3d Printers Used in the Construction Industry?

Yes, you have read it right. 3D printers are now being used in the construction industry on both small and large scales. They have found their place in everyday life for printing complex and intricate designs for prototypes and small-scale models. 

But now, 3D Printing is increasingly used in the construction industry to create building components, such as walls and structural elements, and full-scale buildings. This technology allows for the creation of complex structures and components with precision and speed, leading to improved efficiency and cost savings in the building process. 

3D Printing Methods in Construction Industry

Here’s how 3D Printing is done in the construction industry.

1-    Extrusion-Based 3D Printing

Extrusion-based Printing, also known as filament-based Printing or hot-end printing, is a type of 3D Printing commonly used in the construction industry. In this method, a material, such as concrete, is heated and extruded through a nozzle to create layers built to form a three-dimensional object.

Extrusion-based Printing

2-    Powder-Based 3D Concrete Printing

Powder Based 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) is used to fuse layers of powder by jetting a liquid binder (or “Ink”) selectively through the nozzle(s) on a layer of printable powder, causing the powder particles to bind to each other. One of the advantages of this technique is that structures with overhang parts can be printed without the necessity of a support structure. It is widely used in construction nowadays due to the primary benefit offered by this method of high flexibility in design.

Powder-Based 3D Concrete Printing 

What are the Benefits of 3D Printing in Construction?

3D Printing has proved its value in the manufacturing industry by decreasing material wastage, bringing ease in design, saving time, and increasing the overall efficiency of the manufacturing process by decreasing cost. Well, you can get these benefits in the construction industry, also. 

Unique Designs

One major advantage of 3D Printing in construction is creating custom, unique designs that would be difficult or impossible to create using traditional building methods. For example, architectural firms can use 3D Printing to create one-of-a-kind facades and structural elements for buildings, giving them a distinct aesthetic appeal.

Additionally, 3D Printing allows for the creation of complex, intricate designs that would be time-consuming and labour-intensive to create using traditional methods. For example, 3D Printing can create lattice structures and other designs requiring extensive cutting and fitting with traditional construction methods.

Reduction in Waste

3D Printing also has the potential to reduce waste and improve sustainability in construction. Traditional building methods often result in excess materials and waste, but 3D Printing allows for the creation of exact, precise components that fit together perfectly, reducing the need for excess material.

Variety of Materials and Sustainability

3D Printing allows for the creation of structures using a wide range of materials, including concrete, plastic, and even wood. This flexibility allows for the creation of structures that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Moreover, sustainable materials such as biodegradable plastics and recycled metals can be used, which can help reduce the environmental impact of building construction.

Some Notable Constructions through 3D Printing

There are many examples of 3D Printing being used in the construction industry, including the following:

    In 2018, a team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, used 3D printing to create a full-scale, single-story house in just 24 hours. The house was printed using a mobile robot equipped with a specialized extrusion head that was able to print the walls and roof of the building in a single day.

    In 2019, a Chinese construction company called Winsun used 3D printing to create 10 full-scale houses in 24 hours. The houses were printed using a large-scale 3D printer that could extrude concrete to create the walls and roofs of the buildings.

    In 2021, the Dutch company CyBe Construction used 3D printing to create a bridge over a canal in Amsterdam. The bridge, printed using a mobile 3D printer, was the first 3D-printed bridge in the world to be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

    In 2022, the American company Apis Cor used 3D printing to create a two-story, 400-square-meter house in 24 hours. The house was printed using a mobile 3D printer that could extrude a mixture of concrete and other materials to create the walls and roof of the building.

Germany’s First 3D Printed House

One of the most notable buildings in construction through 3D Printing is Germany’s first 3D printing house that is fully certified under the national government’s building regulations. It paves the way for 3D printers in the construction industry throughout Europe upgrading the whole construction industry.

Germany’s first 3D printing house

Summary

3D Printing is used in construction in several ways, including creating building components such as walls, roofs, and structural beams, mould forms for casting concrete and other materials, and complete buildings. Overall, 3D Printing is a game-changing technology for the construction industry. As technology advances, it will likely become even more prevalent in the construction industry.

How are 3d Printers Used in the Construction Industry? Written by Hamza Rafaqat 

Hamza is a mechanical engineer and has 4 years of experience as a content writer. You can contact him here.