By Stephen Lauer
In the last decade, 3D printing has become an integral part of many industries. One of those industries is the construction industry in which companies are beginning utilize methods to print and build complete structures using 3D printers. These companies are utilizing different techniques in order to print structures, such as printing off-site and then shipping the printed parts in sections to the site or bringing a large scale printer to the construction site to print the structure in place. Both of these techniques are advantageous over customary construction process. According to National Building Specification (NBS) website, either of these options are advantageous over the customary construction process[i]. Another advantage that the NBS states is that printers allow for faster and more accurate construction, this means that errors rarely arise from construction but instead from the digital model being incorrect or failure in the material or equipment. Printed construction also reduces labor costs because of a minimal amount of human effort required to complete the construction. The NBS states another advantage to be reduced waste generated during the construction process as each component is printed individually. A final advantage that the NBS states is a reduced carbon footprint which is due to less machinery being needed and depending on the type of material used less carbon produced through the manufacturing of the material used[ii].
The adaptation of 3D printing will change how buildings are constructed and the speed at which they are constructed. According to the developer of Contour Crafting, Behrokh Khoshnevis, our conventional construction practices are inefficient and outdated[iii]. He also claims that they are slow, labor intensive, and very dangerous thus by switching to 3D printed buildings, the construction process will progress at a much quicker pace, require less laborers, and eliminate some danger on construction sites[iv]. These methods alleviate the problems by first having all the pieces either fabricated on site by a printer or fabricated offsite and then shipped at once to increase the speed the building is erected. Offsite fabrication will speed up the process because the components can be printed ahead of schedule or in a factory by multiple printers. Printed buildings require fewer laborers to build the structure because the printed pieces would need to be assembled as compared to customary construction in which studs are erected, sheathed, and finally finishes are added. The printed buildings already have their finished textures printed onto them which eliminates the time it takes to add these finishes in customary construction methods.
This thesis seeks to define a series of building components when assembled become a house. A building is made up of many different components that when each are put together become a building. By taking each of these components and looking at how they are put together a new method of construction can arise out of the new technology at hand. Printers can build these pieces to allow for the components to fit together and become a shelter.
[i] Husseini, A. (2014, November 1). 3D printing and the construction industry. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.thenbs.com/topics/constructionproducts/articles/3d-printing-and-the-construction-industry.asp
[ii] Husseini, A. (2014, November 1). 3D printing and the construction industry. Retrieved October 15, 2015, from http://www.thenbs.com/topics/constructionproducts/articles/3d-printing-and-the-construction-industry.asp
[iii] Contour Crafting: Automated Construction: Behrokh Khoshnevis at TEDxOjai. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdbJP8Gxqog
[iv] Contour Crafting: Automated Construction: Behrokh Khoshnevis at TEDxOjai. (n.d.). Retrieved August 30, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdbJP8Gxqog