3D printing has been making waves recently and for good reason. It is dramatically changing the way we manufacture and develop products and components. Having the ability to make complex prototypes without having to use traditional molding techniques is a huge time and money save for companies that need to develop new ideas quickly.
3D printers have actually been around for almost 40 years, and were first introduced in 1980 at a time when there were very few applications. The technology was also very expensive and limited in its design capabilities.
Nowadays however 3D printers are found in many businesses and even in the domestic environment, as the technology becomes increasingly accessible. 3D printers use computing power for the design and printing process, and as computers are powerful and inexpensive compared to the 1980s, this means that 3D printing is being used by many people.
In the construction industry 3D printing can be used on a bigger scale to create construction components and even to print entire buildings. Computer aided design is already widely used by the construction industry, meaning that it is the perfect tool that can be easily amalgamated with existing measures.
It has many applications where it can be applied, for example in harsh or dangerous environments that are unsuitable for a human workforce. This might include desert conditions, remote areas and even space.
There have been numerous construction projects over the past few years that have utilised the process of 3D printing on their builds. In 2014, engineers used 3D printing to fabricate a steel component for a structure that had to be lightweight.
The engineers stated that the benefits of 3D printing were considerable, and that there are many factors that make it extremely appealing in the construction sector, like cost reduction, waste reduction and the ability to make very complex components quickly an easily.