3D – printers in construction

Nowadays everybody, who has access to the Internet knows about such promising invention as 3D-printer. Surprisingly, these machines were invented and even built a long time before Internet-era, however, they started to play an important role just in a recent couple of years. The speed of their development and the variety of fields, where they are used, is growing dramatically: they are widely used in product design, tech-sector, and even medicine. Each year 3D-printers become more affordable, while quality is improving and the number of its typologies is increasing with respect to materials and methods of printing.

It is just a matter of time when all opportunities this kind of technology can provide will be used also in construction. And if several years ago the idea of actual printing a house seemed like a good joke, now it is becoming common. It will not take a lot of time before everyone will be able to download drawings of their “dream house” from the Internet, call a company which will bring a big machine to the site and “voilà” – your house is here and ready to host you! Sounds like a science fiction, isn’t it? Well, for now, yes, but architects and engineers are working hard and do a huge research and experimentation to make this come true.  We would like to share with you some good examples of what those guys have already achieved:

 

Echoviren 3D-printed pavilion by Smith|Allen

Even though this structure wasn’t completely printed with a huge machine, it used all advantages which 3D-printers provide: the architects looked at aggregation as the most efficient construction system and then produced just parts of the object, which were assembled. The printing of all parts took only 2 months, and installation just 4 days (which is quite surprising for this complexity of the shape).

Despite being just 3x3x2.5 meters in dimensions, the pavilion consists of 585 individual biodegradable plastic components (this material takes 30 to 50 years to fully decompose), what makes this structure also very attractive from the sustainability and ecological point of view.

The structural pattern by itself was based on the cellular forms and organisation of sequoia cells to provide a huge amount of strength while having minimal volumes.

 

WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co affordable housing

If we talk about fast production and construction then we just can’t miss China – those guys achieved a great success in this field, especially in recent years. One of Shanghai building companies decided to do a bit of experimentation with new technologies and recently constructed a small number of partially 3D-printed houses and it took them just a day!

They used a big 3D printer (125x10x6 meters) to print everything: from the giant concrete slabs to the inner cross bracings. The most interesting part is that a lot of recycled materials were used for fabrication: industrial and construction waste, glass fibers – everything was used to “feed” the machine.

The results are impressive: construction of a couple of 195 m.sq house, which was done just in one day cost only 4 800$ each! This is a real proof of 3D-printer future superiority,  do you agree?

 

3D-printed castle by Andrey Rudenko

What do 3D-printers and castles have in common? They both are a part of fantasy worlds… well, not anymore!

DIY – activist Andrey Rudenko raised stakes higher aiming to build his own 3D-printed concrete castle in his backyard! Sounds crazy? Not for this guy!

Rudenko has started to develop his own huge printer two years ago trying to create the machine which allows erecting inhabitable homes that will be durable enough to resist all weather conditions, even extreme ones. He was developing the project independently and voluntarily, with a huge amount of trials and errors, experimenting with concrete mixtures and dimensions of their layers. At the end, he came to 10mm in height and 30mm in width stratum of concrete with adding of metal bars for strengthening.

Now, when the first project is finished, Andrey wants to achieve a new goal – to print a full-scale livable house, using the same principles and technologies he used for the castle. Well, we hope for the best and maybe one day his work will set a foundation for future mass 3D-printed construction!

3D- printed office building in Dubai

Nowadays the United Arab Emirates became synonymous with the fantastic architecture – a number of unbelievable buildings, which look like they just descended from the science books’ pages, is impressive! Very often some new construction techniques, materials and methods that have never existed before, are being developed –  just to bring those fantasies to reality. The recent opening of new office in Dubai can start a completely new era for building industry in the country – the era of 3D-printing.

This office is the first of its kind and was built in collaboration with WinSun company (which has already printed some small houses before). There were used a couple of small 3D-printers to create some little details as well as one biggest – 6x32x12 in dimensions. It took 17 days to print all needed elements and more or less two days to erect the building completely – the elapsed time is impressive for 250 m.sq office! Moreover, according to the government, the cost of construction was reduced twice in comparison with traditional construction methods, which also tells us a lot.

This project is just a first step in a long-term program of the UAE making the country number one in 3D-printing. And if there is any scepticism about construction using printing – just check the photos of this Office of the Future and all your doubts will disappear! 

3D-Printed Canal House

Even though this project is still under the construction, it has a very big potential and can be a milestone for radical changes in the closest future.

Amsterdam-based company DUS Architects aims to create an entire canal house with typical dimensions for that kind of building. To do that they decided to use 3D-printing proving that this technology can provide variety and flexibility in form-finding and construction. And even if at the beginning that idea appeared to be crazy for someone, later even the biggest sceptics surrendered: the company has already printed a part of the main facade and it looks fascinating.

The main machine for production is 6 meters tall and it creates honeycomb textured chunks, which then stick together over each other like big LEGO set.

The major advantage of this system is its durability and massiveness (each part’s weight is around 180 kg). The pieces, however, are hollow and have to be filled with insulators to create appropriate living conditions and microclimate inside the building.

Even though some part of Canal House is already being built and others are in production, DUS is still experimenting with materials and patterns, as well as communicates and interacts with public and manufacturers for some interesting proposals. But even for now not being completely created, new development serves as an art attraction for citizens and tourists, which says a lot about the bright perspectives of the project.

We hope you’ve learnt something new and fascinating about advanced 3D-printing construction! Stay tuned for more!