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.
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.