4 Jan 2017
3D printing is beginning to be used in the construction industry. Can it help meet some of the challenges of consulting engineers?
The research that’s being done on 3D printing is promising. The Waterford Institute of Technology is researching metal 3D printing for manufacturing purposes. University College in Dublin is currently researching concrete design for 3D printing.
3D construction is in line with the lean construction principles of BIM. Generating less waste, using recyclable materials, requiring less materials, and reducing the amount of materials that need to be transported are a few of the advantages of 3D construction. 3D printing can easily be used in factories to create the components needed for construction.
Using 3D construction on site is more complicated, but it has many advantages as well. When it's used on site, it requires a frame to be assembled. This takes some time to erect. However, it can save lots of time and materials throughout the construction of a structure.
There have been several notable buildings constructed with 3D printing recently. An office building in Dubai was constructed with 3D printing. In Shanghai, houses are being printed using recycled materials at the rate of ten houses a day. It’s believed that 3D printing could mass produce housing at a more affordable rate and help to keep up with the growing global population.
3D printing could be the future of construction. However, it’s not yet ready for mainstream construction.