5 Inspiring 3D-Printed Structures Across The Globe
From a dream technology to now a reality, 3D printing has come a long way. A technology, which started small, now has the potential of constructing a building that can not only be cost-effective but also withstand varied weather conditions.
Some of the developers are now experimenting with the technology, while some have gone a step ahead to build some of the first few 3D-printed structures.
In this technology, the products that are to be 3D-printed and once the design is finalised it is constructed using a 3D printing machine and the required material.
MakaanIQ lists five 3D-printed structures across the globe that are revolutionising the construction sector:
Dubai's 3D-printed office
The world's first 3D-printed office was recently unveiled in Dubai. The project is strategically located between the twin Emirates Towers and the Dubai International Financial Center. A cost-effective structure, the building has a tree-shaded outdoor garden deck and LED lights that automatically adjust to the brightness outside.
The project was constructed using a 20-feet tall printer by Chinese company WinSun Global. The printer squirted cement and other building material to produce 17 building modules in China which were then transported to Dubai and assembled on site in two days. It took three months to assemble the interiors and landscape of the project.
China's 3D printed houses
This was one of the first housing projects constructed using 3D-printing technology. The construction company, WinSun Global, built a five-storey building and a two-storey villa using this technology. Built at Suzhou Industrial Park, the apartment structure is spread across an area of 11,840 sq ft. The modules were again constructed using the 20-feet tall printer at the WinSun facility. 3D printing, according to the developers, saved construction waste by 30-60 per cent; production time by 50-70 per cent; and labour costs by 50-80 per cent.
Another Chinese company, ZhuoDa Group, 3D printed a two-storey villa in just three hours. The project was developed in July 2015 and was showcased at the International Exhibition Center Plaza in Weihai. Nearly 90 per cent of the project was designed and manufactured in a facility and then assembled on-site. The modules included all essentials — the wiring, the plumbing, the furniture and the decoration. The construction material used was water and fireproof and could withstand an earthquake of a magnitude of nine on the Richter scale.
Amsterdam's 3D-printed façade
In January this year, Heijmans and DUS Architects came together to design and develop a 3D-printed façade of the Europe Building in Amsterdam. This white façade, made to celebrate the start of the Netherland's six-month Presidency of the European Union, has curves and corners of that of a yatch's sails. To add to the beauty of this, coloured and programmed lights were used. It was further beautified using blue textured 3D-printed benches.
The structure is spread across 700 sqm and made of layers of bio-plastic put together using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology.
Amsterdam's under-construction 3D-printed bridge
Touted as the world's first 3D-printed bridge, the structure will be constructed over the Oudezijds Achterburgwal canal by MX3D. This steel bridge will be constructed using two multi-axis robotic arms, customised for the project. The project was conceptualised by the Joris Laarman Studio along with Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia's (IAAC) Petr Novikov and Saša Jokić. The construction of this bridge uses technology named Autodesk that let's the two robotic arms to weld metal or print resin, in mid-air, without support structures or size constraints.
California's 3D-printed cement structure
Constructed at the UC Berkeley, California, the cement structure is touted as the first and largest powder-based 3D-printed construction. The project named Bloom, which was designed by a team led by university's associate professor for architecture Ronald Rael, is nine-feet high. The structure comprises 840 customised blocks which were printed using iron oxide-free Portland cement polymer formulation. The formulation was developed by professor Rael.
The modules for this structure were created using 11 3D printers. Once the modules were put together, the final product was a decorative pattern with floral motifs. This project will travel across the world to be showcased as a first of its kind 3D-printed cement structure.