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3D Printing – New Age Construction Technology

“3D printer is conducive to use on the extraterrestrial surface as well. These printers can be carried away to Mars and Moon or anywhere in the entire universe for construction since the climate is not feasible for humans everywhere. Isn’t that amazing!!”

Construction is not a new term for mankind. Since the stone age, man is finding ways and means to protect themselves from the extreme weather conditions and wild animals. First, there were caves, then as mankind progressed, we found out materials that can help us built a shelter for us. The ever so conservative construction industry has evolved over a period and 3D printing in construction is proving to be a new milestone in the industry.

3D printing in construction is the latest term when professor Behrokh Khoshnevis of the University of South Carolina attempted to build a wall using 3D printing techniques. 3D printing is now emerging as a new technology by completely whitewashing the traditional ways to construct. With 3D printing, it is possible to build a house in less than a day!!

3D printers are huge machines that can be programmed to work like humans. Just like human arm laying concrete, it’s the arm of the 3D printer piling the concrete layers as the design permits. 3D printers are used to build the structure physically. They are a replacement to the humans working tirelessly on the construction site. The appearance of the structure is like the structures made by conventional techniques, but the time consumed in construction is less and the work efficiency is greater. 3D printers are generally classified as below –

 

 

Delta 3D Printers – They are a sight to watch while they are working. Their tasks include simple component joining. Though they can do a high speed of work, they have a very enclosed work envelope.

 

 

Image Source – Harvard

 

 

Robotic Arm 3D Printer – These are the printers used for small scale productions. These printers cannot print 360 degrees at one go but it has a maximum reach of 3 meters.

                         

 

Image Source – Google

 

 

Gantry Printers – These printers can print both larger and smaller buildings in just few hours. They can print intricate design with high level of detailing. They can be used in-site as well as off site.

               

 

                                                Image Source – Google       

FUTURE PROSPECTS

The future of the construction industry seems more to be in the hands of 3D printing robots. In the future, we won’t see a human doing anything laborious on-site except handling backend operations of construction or handling the 3D printing.

According to the community survey done, 3D printing topped the list in the following parameters.

 

 

Privacy – Once the data is fed inside the computer system there is no way that data gets misused by the machine unless and until any external factor uses it to its convenience.

                                                                                                 

 

Source – web.wpi.edu

 

 

Safety – 3D printers are extremely easy and safe to use since its workability is unquestionable.

 

                                                                                               

 

Source -web.wpi.edu

 

 

Timeliness – Since there is no lunchtime and nap time needed for machines there are no issues of delaying or stopping any task. Since time is a major factor ruling everything around. The consistency by which the work is done is extremely satisfying.

 

Source – web.wpi.edu

 

Job Security – In this scenario of machines replacing man for various work,job security is the issue with many industries. But when it comes to 3D printing, the jobs here have just interchanged and not completely vanished. Now most of the human work concentrates on the technical part of 3D machines like maintenance and proper functioning of the machine. Similarly, this industry will create a different job for skilled technicians leading to more precise and accurate constructions.   

Source – web.wpi.edu

Besides these there are several other factors leading to the growing use of 3D printers, they are –

Technological Advances

With this fast-changing world, technologies are evolving every single day to keep up with the world. Companies always aim to conquer the latest and biggest invention possible. With the growing market, it is necessary to stay updated with all the technological advancements. This one factor governs the landscape of business inside as well as outside the country.

Political Prowess

There is a lot of competition on a global platform to showcase one’s power in technology and therefore the government always tries to push the boundaries of technology to the next level. In today’s highly competitive world the nation’s caliber is governed by where it stands in the technological aspects.

Though 3D printing has evolved, it still has its own positives and negatives like –

Pros –

  • Its super user-friendly
  • It saves time
  • Decreases labor costs and human efforts
  • Will create new employment opportunities for skilled workforce

Cons –

  • The final texture of the building is rough
  • Labor employment decreases since most of the work are done by the machines
  • The costs of materials are high
  • They are not fire/earthquake resistant
  • How to gain structural strength is still a question

No invention has 100% success rates at the first instance, and 3D Printing is no exception. Experts are working on the limitations 3D printing has and day-by-day new technologies, innovations are being introduced to make it more acceptable to the industry. In days to come, no wonder we will see more machines on the construction site than humans speeding up the constructions.

 

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