As the influence of 3D printing continues to grow in a number of industries worldwide, it's only matter of time before businesses begin to push the technology's boundaries.
While many businesses are content to use 3D printing for small-scale projects such as prototyping or low-volume manufacturing, other people have much more ambitious plans for the technology.
For the construction industry in particular, there are a number of uses for 3D printing, with firms around the globe embracing the potential of the technology. In some cases, this is for much more than the design and prototyping phase, with brave builders in Dubai electing to construct an entire office block from 3D-printed sections.
Although modular construction techniques are nothing new, 3D printing is opening new doors for builders. In the case of modular construction, materials and building sections are generally fabricated off site and then pieced together at the building's location.
The engineers for this project, however, plan to do the complete opposite. The materials and modules for the 20 foot tall structure will be 3D printed directly on site in an attempt to make construction more efficient.
According to a July 5 article in the South China Morning Post, the engineers are estimating that these techniques will cut construction waste by up to 60 per cent and halve both labour costs and construction time.
The speed at which 3D printing allows for products to be built was also showcased by a recent project in China where a 3D printed house was assembled in just three hours. Even taking the printing time into account, the project has set a remarkable standard for the future of the residential construction industry. Overall, the house took just 10 days to be printed and assembled.
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