Many 3d printed products are being produced in a variety of industries including clothing, jewelry, toys, medicine, electronics, and aerospace. All of these industries have been affected to varying degrees by the disruptive technology of 3D printing. However, the construction industry has the potential to be profoundly disrupted by this technology.
The Current State Of The Construction Industry
The construction industry lags behind manufacturing in the use of technology. Competitive pressures have driven manufacturing to employ automation technology in its many forms including the use of computers and software to integrate the design process directly with fabrication operations.
By contrast, the construction industry is primarily a manual operation. Although the tools of the trade have seen technological improvement, the tools are still manually operated by people. This lack of automation is largely due to the fact that buildings must be built on site rather than inside the controlled environment of a factory floor.
The construction industry is also hampered by practices that have seen little change. The practice of pouring concrete into forms containing rebar and the use of bricks and mortar are two examples of this. Whenever a design requires shapes that can't be accommodated by the standard practices, the time and expense of construction drastically increase. Because of this technological bottleneck, architects cannot make full use of their creative skills or of the advanced design software at their fingertips.
D-Shape Enterprises' New Method Of Construction
D-Shape Enterprises promises to revolutionize the construction industry through the use of the D-shape 3D printer. This is done by creating a 3D design on CAD software that is then sent to the 3D printer. 2D slices of the design are produced layer by layer by the printer which deposits a magnesium-based binder on layers of sand that correspond to the 2D slices. The binder interacts with the sand to form a marble-like material. After the binder cures and the loose sand is removed, the 3D structure is realized.
The Advantages Of D-Shape 3D Printer Technology
Provided the designs are structurally sound in an engineering sense, intricate and complicated structures can be as easily produced as simple ones. Therefore, architects will no longer be hamstrung by the limitations of current construction practices. Although the cost of the binder is higher than Portland cement, the overall cost of building a structure will be 30%-50% lower than conventional construction methods and will be four times faster.
The process also doesn't require the levels of manual labor currently used by the construction industry. This means the risk of injury and death is significantly reduced. The construction industry has a very high rate of injury and mortality.
3D printing is transforming manufacturing in many industries by driving down costs and by making new product designs possible. Thanks to the efforts of D-Shape Enterprises, the construction industry will see similar benefits in the form of greater design freedom and significant cost reduction.