Expanding scope of 3D printing in construction

Introduction

3D printing has been around for over 30 years as a technology. Over time, it has only gained prominence and relevance in the construction arena. It is being used not only to make jewelry and automobile prototypes, but also varied products such as football boots, racing-car parts, food products, human organs, aircraft parts and houses.

What 3D construction printing is!

3D construction printing refers to the set of technologies that use 3D printing as a method to construct buildings or construction components. Faster construction, lower labor costs, increased precision and accuracy, enhanced durability and lower waste generation are just a few of the benefits of 3D construction printing.

3D printed houses can be fabricated either on-site or off-site. Realized applications of 3D construction printing include, but are not limited to, housing fabrication, building of construction components such as cladding and structural panels and columns, bridges and other infrastructural constructions, man-made reefs and sculptures.

3D printing is a type of additive manufacturing technique that 3D prints an object layer by layer and fabricates a ready-to-use, finalized structure in the process. It covers structural fabrication end to end, including phases such as design, modeling, programming, fabrication and finishing.

 3D printed building

Popularity of 3D construction printing

3D construction printing has witnessed a marked rise in popularity in many parts of the globe, with several new firms endorsing the technology as a commercially viable option. The first 3D printed building is called the Winsun while the first 3D printed bridge in the world is called D-shape.

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3D printing can squeeze down the time taken to build a house from several months to a matter of a few days. The added level of accuracy and durability coupled with lower labor costs and higher construction efficiency have got technologists and businesses to think seriously about making 3D printing a part of the mainstream real estate.

3D construction printing in India

In 2018 itself, the first 3D printer for constructing buildings in India has been made by IIT Madras engineers and alumni, a project that the team had been working on since 2016. They’ve conducted international workshops and awareness sessions in Chennai in addition. The institute is now exploring automated construction techniques and novel formwork systems for rapid construction of houses.

IIT Madras is also collaborating with government agencies and industry players to bring the technology to practice as soon as possible. With affordable housing proving to be an effective mass housing provision scheme in India, the team is thinking of ways to adapt the technology for the mass market.

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Future of 3D construction printing

Given the numerous advantages of 3D construction printing, the technology is expected to become commercially viable in the near future across countries and is likely to provide stiff competition to existing construction methods such as manual construction, machine-driven construction, and more.

It can be concluded that 3D construction printing has raised hopes of construction businesses and real estate stakeholders across the globe. It is likely to enter the commercial main-stream in a time span of next 4-6 years. 3D construction printing will reduce construction time to a small fraction of where it stands today and provide safer and more durable structures to reside and use.

It will also provide a higher quality of residential and commercial experience to home buyers and businesses. Last but not the least, it is also going to revolutionize the way real estate developers and agents approach construction. It will also become a key differentiating factor in real estate marketing and will rank high in the preference list of home buyers and other real estate customers.

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