Acceleration in the use of new technology in construction is providing opportunities for growth in the 3D printing construction market
. Through the layering of polymer, concrete or metal, 3D printing construction can quickly create building materials for housing, from individual components to whole homes. The construction industry has traditionally been slower than other sectors to adopt automation and robotics but, while there are several different types of 3D printing
, the most common type of printing extrudes concrete using a robotic arm.. This type of process is quick and efficient, resulting in less waste and lower labor costs so it increases the efficiency of a range of construction projects. Unlocking its potential could enable not only the construction of innovative designer homes but also of essential and emergency housing, even in conditions where overseeing a traditional building site would be impractical.
Manufacturing Building Elements More Efficiently
From the use of concrete extrusion for the creation of walls and other large architectural elements, to binder jetting for smaller precision components, 3D printing overcomes challenges in manufacturing
and construction. With use of a wide range of flexible additive manufacturing processes, housing materials can be produced cheaply and with considerably less waste than on a traditional bricks and mortar building site, making the whole undertaking more efficient and sustainable. At the same time, there is no need to compromise on style as it is easy for engineers to tweak models in order to meet demands for customization. In addition, 3D printing technology speeds up building schedules
as whole homes of even complex architectural design can be created and put together in just days rather than weeks.
Growing Demand for 3D Printed Housing
The unveiling of a number of innovative 3D printed housing projects
has served to encourage the further use of 3D concrete printing in the construction industry. With streamlined processes, fewer design errors, and less monitoring required, additive manufacturing allows for the speedy construction of carefully designed, practical and sustainable homes. As well as creating iconic, net-zero show homes, the implementation of 3D printing in house production could address construction issues such as a lack of skilled workers, shortage of affordable housing and the immediate need for basic homes in areas affected by extreme weather conditions.
Developing Lunar Settlements
Offering flexibility in difficult conditions also means that 3D printing construction technology could be employed to establish infrastructure on the surface of the moon
. This potential is more likely to be realized now that NASA has offered multi-million dollar funding to a construction company to develop the technology for building the roads, launchpads and accommodation necessary for the creation of a habitable lunar base.
As the building industry makes greater use of 3D printing construction capabilities, the production of cost-effective and efficient accommodation is made much quicker and easier. As well as creating iconic designer homes, the use of additive manufacturing could help the industry to supply essential housing and even living quarters on the surface of the moon.