3D Print­ing In City Plan­ning

Many con­struc­tion com­pa­nies have al­ready taken 3D print­ing to the next level by utiliz­ing this technology to build houses, bridges and more.

Distinguished Magazine - - CONTENTS - KOEL CHAT­TER­JEE

Al­though 3D print­ing has been around for more than a decade, this revo­lu­tion­ary technology still has not reached its fullest po­ten­tial. 3D print­ing was in­tro­duced to en­able peo­ple to be their own man­u­fac­tur­ers, and with the help of this in­gen­uine in­no­va­tion a num­ber of in­dus­tries can be ben­e­fit­ted im­mensely. Apart from man­u­fac­tur­ing, health­care and le­gal sec­tors, 3D print­ing is im­mensely help­ful in the ur­ban plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment sec­tor as well. Con­struc­tion com­pa­nies have al­ready taken 3D print­ing to the next level by utiliz­ing this technology to build houses, bridges and more. The next step is to build cities through 3D print­ing in or­der to pave the way for a more sus­tain­able fu­ture.

There are sub­stan­tial prece­dents in cre­at­ing any kind of build­ing in­fra­struc­ture through 3D print­ing. In 2015 the first build­ing was made in China us­ing 3D print­ing technology. WinSun, a con­struc­tion com­pany had a 5-sto­ried apart­ment build­ing and a villa of 1100 square me­tre built us­ing a pro­pri­etary 3D prin­ter. This prin­ter used a blend of ground con­struc­tion and in­dus­trial waste over a base of ce­ment, which was mixed with a spe­cial hard­en­ing agent. Dubai soon fol­lowed by ex­am­ple and 3D printed the first of­fice build­ing in the world, cover­ing an area of 250square me­ters. The of­fice was com­plete with fa­cil­i­ties like elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and air-conditioni­ng. The build­ing was printed on a 3D-prin­ter which mea­sured 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide, and took only 17 days to print. In 2018, a steel bridge was printed on a 3D prin­ter in Am­s­ter­dam, which spanned 40 feet in length.

From all the above ex­am­ples it is quite clear that 3D print­ing, if uti­lized prop­erly can bring on a revo­lu­tion in sus­tain­able ur­ban­ism. It is al­ready hailed as a so­lu­tion to ad­dress the rising prob­lems of slum-dwelling and com­mu­ni­ties struck with dis­as­ters. More than two bil­lion peo­ple of this world live in slums, and with 3D print­ing technology it might be pos­si­ble now to give them bet­ter qual­ity of low-in­come hous­ing. Build­ings made with 3D print­ing, need a base around which the “ink” from the prin­ter will build a struc­ture de­signed al­ready.

WinSun built the first 3D printed build­ing claimed to have printed 10 build­ings in 24 hours be­fore it un­veiled the first 3D printed villa. The walls of this struc­ture were ini­tially hol­low and it took eight peo­ple to com­plete the struc­ture in one month at a cost of £105,000. If tra­di­tional meth­ods were fol­lowed for the same, it would have at least taken three months and 30 peo­ple to com­plete at dou­ble the cost in­curred. Due to this un­ex­pected suc­cess, WinSun has been hired to make fac­to­ries and build­ings by more than 20 coun­tries of the world.

In China alone, WinSun is ex­pected to print more than 100 fac­to­ries, us­ing 3D print­ing technology. The Egyp­tian Gov­ern­ment has hired them to build rows of small dwellings in the desert. This ex­am­ple proves the met­tle of 3D print­ing in build­ing a more sus­tain­able ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture to help ad­dress the global prob­lem of low-in­come hous­ing for the slum dwellers and home­less. This might prove to be the big­gest boon par­tic­u­larly for the third world coun­tries.

While 3D print­ing build­ings or cities are for now at a nascent stage, the fu­ture of this revo­lu­tion­ary technology seems to be quite in­ter­est­ing and has a lot of po­ten­tial. In­tro­duc­tion of new tech­niques and ma­te­ri­als in the com­ing fu­ture might en­sure more ease in build­ing com­pli­cated struc­tures and give a lot more free­dom to the ar­chi­tects. With this technology, ur­ban spheres might be more beau­ti­ful, bet­ter planned, with a higher level of over­all sus­tain­abil­ity.

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