US building codes have slowed adoption of 3D printing’s growth in new construction; however, El Salvador is one country that has been especially embracing the idea. Since these regulations serve to ensure the safety of the general public it’s understandable that we haven’t moved too much, but El Salvador’s progress is a nice signal to the impact potential in the future. Specifically, with homeless and underprivileged citizens, nonprofits are raising some serious capital to bring 3D printed structures to the country.
My instinct is to visualize a concrete hut when I think of construction from a 3D printer, however one mentioned in a recent CNN Business article was shockingly modern and stylish (see image below).
The article mentioned how far from the traditional this construction process was. Author Sara Ashley O’Brien states, “The house was assembled in 48 hours by a giant 3D printer. The machine uses a concrete mix that hardens as it dries, and it is sturdier than regular concrete homes.”
One of the most interesting areas for me is how plans can be optimized to the highest cost efficiency and raw material exactness, all in less time. Since 3D applications only require minimal assembly after the materials are printed, there is a fraction of the time needed. As the construction sector pushes to be more sustainable, the reduction of waste is a huge help as well.
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. For construction scale buildings, the renderings are generated on supersize printers. For example, the one used in the 3D printed building pictured was 40’W x 120’L x 20’H.
As the concept grows in popularity, I looked to research the brands and machines that are ranked as the best currently. Aniwaa had a pretty comprehensive list that I’ve included below. It’s interesting how none of the brands ring a bell in my mind. This is a pretty exciting reality.
Contact us with any success/challenge stories you’ve encountered with additive manufacturing/3D printing. We’d love to hear your experience!