After our initial coverage of 3D printing a year ago, there have been countless case studies and developments within the concept. With the help of guest blogger Kim Smith, the reality of 3D printing is demystified. Whether this advancement marks the next industrial revolution is up for debate, but Smith’s points below offer some helpful background to form your own estimate of the future.
As more and more architects, engineers and construction project managers get involved in 3D printing, we will witness the implementation of more precise design models. Armed with 3D printed designs, plans are underway for unique low-income buildings in California. Keep in mind that the main benefit of 3D printing applications in construction is rapid production. This will lead to waste reduction and more environmentally friendly commercial buildings. All with less construction time; because 3D applications only require quick assembly after the building materials are printed.
The Reality of a 3D Constructed Building
In May 2016, what was once thought to be just a “pipe dream” became an ultimate reality. Dubai debuted the world’s first 3D printed building, complete with fully functional modern amenities. For the architects and design engineers who created the concept rendering; it was satisfying to compare the computerized rendering to a perfectly constructed reality. The amenities are not only modern, but are environmentally efficient. The water, electric, window treatments, air conditioning and telecommunications systems all have energy saving enhancements.
To make the 3D designs, the first step in the construction process begins with the printer itself. Of course, for industry use it goes beyond the standard type used in an office setting. Now, for construction scale buildings, the renderings are generated on supersize printers. For example, the one used in the 3D model building the printer’s dimensions were, 40’W x 120’L x 20’H.
Advantages of 3D Printing Applications
One of the greatest advantages of 3D printing applications is that less construction is needed, it’s a way to reduce the actual costs of labor. And the best part for the construction industry is that materials can be printed and shipped anywhere in the world. It doesn’t take a battery of workers to assemble a 3D building, as in the case of the showcase model in Dubai, it took seven installers and a few electricians and a set of extra workers 15 days for project completion.
With the time added and the reduction in manpower and labor, it’s possible for a construction company to take on more and more building projects. As the availability of 3D printers increases for the construction industry this could lead to an even higher demand for 3D printed manufactured homes. Not those typically thought of in connection with the word, “manufactured,” but in terms of the creation of a multitude of energy efficient portable buildings. The technology is still relatively new for construction, because of industry standards, which requires proof that a structure is functional, usable and safe.
Regulators Must Approve 3D Constructed Public Housing
The new standards simply means that construction must keep pace with the need for safe structures, so the regulations are not imposed to make obstacles for the industry. But, to ensure the safety of the general public, because of projects such as the 3D printed planned low-cost housing that is scheduled to begin in California. The regulations are in the early stages because the technology in the US is seen in the realm of virtual reality. However, the dynamics of the Dubai showcase building proves just how vital 3D printers will be to the construction industry, once regulations are established.
Mapping Design Plans For Building Construction
There isn’t limit to the design potential of 3D printed buildings. Architects can create a multitude of design choices for a single construction project because the technology allows more choices. Not only choices, but a lot of the perceived and actual dangers of the construction industry are eliminated. When it comes to assembling a 3D printed building, simple instructions are all that’s required.
This means less supplies are needed, as well as less manpower and building materials. All of these elements add up to higher profit margins for all related parties including the construction project managers and design engineers. Anything is possible, after the completion of the Dubai project, the first of its kind for a 3D printed, fully constructed building. It’s also important to note that once the regulations catch up with the innovation, 3D printed applications for construction projects, will become an everyday reality.
About the Author:
Jason Vander Griendt is the mechanical design engineering expert behind Render 3D Quickly (http://www.render3dquickly.com/), a company specializing in three-dimensional architectural renderings and visualizations. With years of experience in the field of 3D rendering and animation, Vander Griendt has established a global reputation for the exceptional insight and expertise he has regularly provided to architects, builders, contractors, designers, homeowners, and real estate companies from all over the world.