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How 3D printing is starting to gain traction across the world

The city of Dubai has pledged that they will be 3D printing at least 25% of every new building within the next seven years.

It is an ambitious goal, and I think it will be difficult to achieve, but they’ve set their sights on hitting it by 2025.

Dubai has been pushing the boundaries in construction for more than a decade, and they are already at the forefront of 3D printing. The world’s first 3D-printed office building was constructed in Dubai back in 2016.

This was an interesting test project. Printing and installing the 250 sq m office took just 17 days, with 18 people working on the project. The printer extruded a mix of materials, including cement, printing the structure layer by layer. The building was installed on the premises of the Emirates Towers and cost £95,000 to print, with further elements being added to the interior and exterior of the building after printing.

Now Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority has signed a deal with Siemens to extend usage of 3D printing technology. And it is the city’s ruler, and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum who has launched the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which will see the buildings in a new technology hub being built using 25% 3D printed materials.

I mentioned 3D printing back in October, with reference to drones that will monitor buildings and get any necessary replacement parts 3D printed.

And we talked about it in August too, when I told you about robots 3D printing a pedestrian bridge for a canal in Amsterdam.

As well as these projects, a family have moved into the first 3D printed home in France, and last year building company Apis Cor constructed a 38 sq m single storey home in Russia, in just 24 hours. A mobile printer printed self-bearing walls, partitions and the building envelope on site. The printer was then removed using a crane.

The ultimate goal of pushing for more 3D printing is that it should bring down costs, speed up production and reduce waste. There is potential for this construction method to help with housing problems in cities globally, tackling issues of affordability, sustainability and speed of construction.

Ultimately, it is possible that 3D printing will become less novel and more mainstream over the coming years.

In the meantime, traditional methods of construction are still very much in use, and if you need structural assistance on your next project, please let me know.

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