Around a month ago the Dubai government unveiled a fully 3d printed Office which made a lot of news, however in the hype of it all we missed the news that they plan to make 30% of the buildings in Dubai using this technology. Construction 3D Printing is set to grow exponentially and there are many companies fiercely competing to grab the lion share of the industry. We have already seen Chinese companies like Winsun showcase their 3d printed houses that were made in almost 1/3rd of the time taken to build a house with conventional building techniques.
The only problem I saw with their techniques was that they build the houses in what we know as Lego block technique, these blocks are then assembled at the location. This would mean that these blocks would need transportation and hence add up to the overall cost of the construction. There was another issue with the company; Dr. Berokh Khoshnevis who is credited with the Contour Crafting technique of 3D printing buildings accused the company of stealing his patents for making their Construction 3d Printers. He said “WinSun’s claim that they were 3D printing entire homes was untrue; in fact, they were 3D printing small sections of walls and then cobbling them together on-site using other construction methods.”
While we are not very sure about the legality of the whole issue we hope that the issue is resolved for the betterment of the Construction 3D printing industry. We now have another Chinese player in the news for achieving something that would have been thought as unbelievable until a few years ago. The company we are referring to is HuaShang Tengda, the company has created a 400-square-meter, two floor house in just 45 days.
Unlike their Chinese counterparts HuaShang Tengda made this 3D Printer villa completely at the construction site. They seem to have used techniques which are a mix of the age old construction techniques of building iron frame and plumbing pipes, which are then used as a guide for their huge 3d printers to lay cement concrete.
These construction 3d printers used Class C30 concrete, which is basically a mix of cement+ fine aggregates + coarse aggregates. The company thus built a wall which was as thick as thick as 250CM, the company also tested their Villa against earthquakes and found that they could withstand an earthquake as strong as 8 on the Richter scale.
The company claims to have used 4 kinds of system to this, these systems according to them are electronic ingredient formulating system, a concrete mixing system, a transmission system and a 3D printing system. Adding further the company claimed that their Construction 3D printing techniques can be use to build houses of any shapes and sizes, high rise towers as well as un conventional and impossible to build designs.
According to the company’s official press release “(This technology) will have immeasurable social benefits. Particularly the use of the new rural construction can now improve farmers’ living conditions. Because of its speed, low cost, simple and environmentally friendly raw materials, (it can) generally improve the quality of people’s lives. If to be used in developing countries, international competitive bidding in a great competitive advantage, the use of mechanical devices to reduce administrative costs and operating costs.”
It is impossible to believe what can be really achieved with 3d Printing these days, the idea of earthquake proof houses which can save millions of lives in itself is more than enough to convince me to make my new house using 3D Printing techniques.