3D Printing the Buildings of Tomorrow
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3D printing has captivated the world since it first debuted in the 1980s. It may have taken a while for this technology to pick up speed, but 3D printing has exploded in recent years. Clothes, medicine, cars; all things that have been made using 3D printing technology. But what does 3D printing hold in store for one of its most promising endeavors, buildings?
3D Printing Pre-Fab and Modular Construction
Many individuals have speculated that 3D printing can and will be the next big technology in buildings. Prefab and modular construction have been in use since the mid-20th century, but the technology behind these printers is bringing modular construction into the future. While many may take these pre-fab units and add in Gypsum Concrete to customize it to their wants, having these frames helps save a lot of time and money.
Presently, these different units are constructed off-site and are then brought on-site using trucks. For example, if you take clients like the ones at BMarko Structures (https://bmarkostructures.com/3d-shipping-container-modifications-division/) into consideration, you can see how they manufacture modular units at their warehouse and then transport it back to their client’s place. 3D printers not only make this practice more viable by reducing hold-ups due to a wide variety of issues, but it almost takes human builders out of the equation.
In the future, 3D printers may be deployed on-site to construct buildings then and there. Engineers or designers may program a design into a group of printers and send them on their way, each robot taking care of their own section of the building without having to transport sections to and from the manufacturer. This may take some time though, as constraints such as weather are still holding robots and electronics back.
3D Printing Today
Some builders, however, are already on their way to completing this task. WinSun Global has been 3D printing structures since early 2014, and recently acquired a contract for a 3D printed office building in Dubai. This office will be a little different from their other projects, though, as it will be entirely 3D printed. That’s right: walls, joists, beams, even the furniture for this architectural marvel will be printed and assembled on site using a 20-foot tall 3D printer. The building will only take a few weeks to construct, and labor and construction costs are projected to be lowered by as much as 60% compared to conventional building methods. You may only need new desks, office chairs (view the best office chair) and file shelves to set up a new office. With 3D printing, companies can construct new buildings in a very short timeframe and set up their offices very quickly. Nevertheless, these structures will likely require inspections for building defects. A structural and strata assessment can be carried out by Michael Teys or another expert. In order to extend the life of the structure, these defects may need to be repaired as soon as possible.
Whether the printing takes place on or off site is really irrelevant. 3D printing is a technology that promises to catapult mankind into the future of building and design. One day, 3D printers may be sent to the Moon or even Mars to set up camps for astronauts before they arrive, or quickly erect housing for individuals affected by natural disasters. But when we will see the 3D printed food promised in ‘Star Trek’ remains to be seen.
We may not be using 3D printers here at UNINTECH, but we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve. We staff LEED certified engineers in order to ensure that our buildings use responsible waste and storm-water techniques, in addition to using recycled building materials. Click the button below to view some of our LEED certified projects, and see how UNINTECH is making the future of design a reality today.