3D Printing for Construction

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Rating: 4.1/5 (13 votes cast)

D-Shape is the most outwardly ambitious 3-D printer. D-Shape can print sculptures, artificial rocks, park benches, columns, custom bricks, and eventually two story homes. While most 3-D printers are limited to printing small, plastic household objects, D-Shape aims to print entire homes. It can create concrete objects measuring 6 meters (20 feet) square by 8 meters (26 feet) high.

D-Shape works by incrementally adding horizontal layers of concrete until the complete structure is formed. First, a thin layer of a concrete mix is deposited and leveled. A nozzle then sprays “structural ink” which binds the concrete mix together in certain locations. Only areas sprayed with the structural ink are bound together. The rest of the concrete mix remains loose. Additional horizontal layers are then printed until the structure reaches its final height. The loose mix is then removed to reveal the concrete structure underneath. The concrete structure can be sanded and smoothed and the loose mix can be reused.

D-Shape has several advantages over traditional concrete casting. It is estimated to be four times faster and cost 30-50% less than traditional building techniques. It can create shapes difficult or impossible to cast with traditional molds. Finally, the cement used is stronger than Portland cement (the type typically used in cast molds).

D-Shape is building a production facility in Italy where it will print custom concrete objects.  It is also currently seeking certifications from international regulatory agencies, so that it can be used in construction.

3D Printing for Construction, 4.1 out of 5 based on 13 ratings

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