The advantages of 3D printing in architecture and construction

30/09/2020

The advantages of 3D printing in architecture and construction

It has been said for years that the future of architecture and construction lies in 3D printers. Time will dictate whether it has any influence, but what is already a reality is that this tool is becoming more and more widespread.

The 3D printer is a machine capable of making copies of three-dimensional designs, such as computer-designed volumetric pieces. It is therefore a technique that can be applied to many fields, such as medicine or the automotive sector. For some, in the field of construction, it represents a before and after. This is the case of Sergio Morales, a collaborating professor on the Industry 4.0 master's degree course at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC), who explains that it represents "a new industrial revolution because it can change the way we think and design in the development of new products or buildings".

Today, it already brings a variety of benefits, which we would like to review. It allows, for example, architectural models to be much more detailed and, therefore, much more similar to the final result of the project, and in this way the client can get a much better idea of it. This better perception is also a consequence of the fact that it prints in high quality, with a very high level of detail and with a great variety of materials. In addition, it reduces the time needed to create architectural models, so projects gain in speed and deadlines are shorter.

Already focusing on the construction, it allows the printing of any shape, no matter how complex it is. Any design that was previously impossible to carry out can now be a reality, without any extra cost in terms of time. It also allows the use of new materials not previously used in construction and the ability to print in the space of the work itself, saving logistics and transport costs.

Another advantage is that it saves time in construction and labour and, consequently, makes it possible to reduce the number of occupational accidents. Also, the automation of the work is higher, so the factor of human error is reduced. And sustainability is another aspect that improves, since the waste generated by building is less.

Therefore, 3D construction makes it possible to reduce construction and logistics times, which in turn means total cost savings, which adds up to more efficient and environmentally friendly buildings. Logically, as we pointed out at the beginning, we are still far from being a massive way of working, but forecasts indicate that year after year its use will multiply, a circumstance which is not surprising if we look at some of the projects already built with this technology.

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