Since its advent, 3D printing has been on a steady path forward. And the further along it moves, the more people have been wondering how it will affect and benefit all industries. In 2015, China managed to 3D print homes and other large-scale structures, making everyone pay attention to the possibilities for 3D printing in construction in particular.
Here are some possible future benefits of 3D printing in construction:
New Shapes and Design Possibilities: 3D printers allow an architect to be totally flexible in the shape of his designs. 3D printing can build curvilinear structures (rather than rectilinear forms). Using a concrete and composite mixture, 3D printers can build these curvilinear structures, which offer the strongest structural design, especially compared to the limits of rectangular forms.
Check out a video explaining the new imaginative designs allowed by 3D printing:
Lower Costs: Costs could be lowered on both a large structure scale and with regard to parts. On a large scale, 3D printed buildings would have potential for far lower materials costs and labor. This could be especially applicable and helpful in 3rd world countries, where better homes could be built for less. And regarding parts, 3D printing would allow spare parts to be printed from any location by any manufacturing company. This could lower both the cost of the part and the time it takes to receive it.
Check out this video showing some of the low-cost 3D printed houses in China, which can be produced for less than $5,000.
Remote Location Construction: And in a totally bizarre and out-of-this-world use of 3D printing, the European Space Agency is considering building a 3D printed lunar village on the moon using lunar soil. This construction could begin in 5 years. And it proves that 3D printing could take us anywhere—there is no application too wild.
More Precise Building: According the managing director of Facit Homes, which is building a 3D Printed Home in London, a 3D Printed home has better and more precise results because a file is passed from a computer to a machine, and is never touched by human hands, so it is never up to interpretation. The file translates directly to an object.
As 3D Printing use in the Construction Industry is in its early stages, it is still too early to tell what will happen. But it’s exciting to watch the change and imagine the future possibilities!