For some it will still be science fiction, but 3D printing is rapidly breaking down typical engineering and design barriers and energizing the development business. Last month, the city showed the first 3D printed house in Europe that was designed almost entirely by a robot.
In recent years, the race to create the world’s first 3D printed house has grown from a specialized science fiction show to one of the most compelling tech contests in the construction industry. The five-story, 1,100-square-meter main building was purported to be the world’s first 3D-printed apartment block.
This was followed by the world’s first 3D-printed workplace in a metropolis in 2016, once again designed by WinSun during a collaboration with architect Tomasetti of Gensler UK and inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. The single-story, 250m² structure was built in just seventeen days and required a team of just seven installers and ten specialized electricians to install.
The first micro-house in Europe was built in the capital of the Netherlands in 2016, an 8m² and 25m³ gabled cottage designed by the Dutch studio DUS Architects. In 2017, Europe’s first 3D printed house was produced, a 37m² one-bedroom structure in the country’s capital that was created using a mobile printing crane in exactly twenty-four hours. Designed by Russian and San Francisco 3D printing specialists ApisCor, it cost just over £ 8,000 to build.
For Guglielmo Carra, Arup’s head of European materials consulting, the benefits of 3D printing technology are clear. “Industry is one of the world’s largest CO2 emitters and resource users. We would like to bring about a paradigm shift in the way the construction business operates. It creates less waste throughout construction and materials typically reused at the end of its useful life “.
3D Housing 05 was designed by a 3D printed mechanism, which was fitted out by the Dutch 3D printed concrete specialist CyBe. The robot squeezes the concrete through a nozzle and this forms the main structure of the wall of the house. This wall structure contains thirty-five concrete modules, each of which takes just one hour to build. Construction crews install windows, doors, and roof as soon as the concrete dries. The concrete mix itself is unconventional and is made at the factory using a mixture of cement and admixtures especially suited to its distinctive application methodology.
For Luca Stabile, head of construction monitoring at Arup Italia, the 3D printing technology that takes advantage of 3D Housing 05 could be a sign of what is to come: “3D printing can contribute to breaking down the traditional barriers of engineering and architecture. Using recent technologies on board a digital approach to replacing the engineering environment will be instrumental in making even a lot of complicated multi-storey buildings written in 3D, “he says.
However, Stabile refers to an association that some consider elemental to the success or alternative of 3D printing technology: digitization. And this successively reveals the latest major development that sets 3D Housing 05 apart from other similar examples within the increasingly bogged down 3D printed housing market: it was created absolutely entirely by mechanism rather than humans.
Most of the 3D printed buildings and each of the 3D printed houses that preceded 3D Housing 05 were designed by a static 3D printer. Although it is capable of invariably rotating or rotating functionality, it could normally remain mounted at an equivalent point throughout the construction and would therefore be limited by provisioning constraints. However, the CyBe machine that the city project uses is understood as a mechanical manipulator. It can be a robot connected to a mobile base which therefore offers considerably more flexibility in terms of construction method and greater variation in the shape of the finished building.
Digital style specialist Nick Grace is a former Arup CAD specialist and also the former head of Rapidform, the Royal School of Arts’ 3D printing unit. Today he has created his own digital style studio and, for him, 3D printing technology, despite all the clamor of the art movement that surrounds it, becomes almost redundant unless it goes hand in hand with technology. compromised use of AI.
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