3D Printing Technology in Construction

Many different materials can be used in 3D printing construction, such as ABS plastic, PLA, Polyamide (nylon), glass filled polyamide, stereolithography materials (epoxy resins), titanium, steel, wax, photopolymer, polycarbonate and concrete. In real terms, however, the origins of 3D printing can be traced back to 1986, when the first patent was issued for stereolithograph apparatus (SLA). Stereolithography (SL) is one several methods used to create 3D printed objects. It is the process by which a uniquely designed 3D printing machine, called a stereolithograph apparatus (SLA) converts liquid plastic into solid objects. This patent belonged to one Charles (chuck) Hull, who first invented his SLA machine in 1983. 3D printing is done in three steps, such as Modeling, Printing and finishing. In the first step Additive manufacturing takes virtual blueprints from Computer Aided Design (CAD) or animation modeling software and slices them into digital cross sections for the machine to successively use as a guideline for printing. In the next step the machine will read this design and lays down successive layers of liquid, power or sheet material to build the model from a series of cross sections from the CAD model. These all joined together or automatically fused to create any shape or geometric feature. In the last step, support printing oversized version of the desired object in printing and then removing material with a high resolution subtractive process.

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It has many advantages of this technology, such as reduction of the costs and time, minimizing the pollution of environment and decrease of injuries and fatalities on construction sites could be listed. This technique is being applied successfully, in different sectors such as aerospace, automotive and health. It has become more important in the construction sector, due to the easier creation of prototypes, molds, and solid objects with the possibility of correction at the last minute. Extremely large 3D printers have already been built that can use concrete-like materials to fabricate a variety of large structural components and even entire buildings, such as emergency huts and residences. In terms of technology, 3D printing allows, Increase flexibility in designs without compromising structural stability, Usage of new materials for construction, already integrated components into built structures, such as plumbing and wiring into printed walls, easily integrated last minute changes to designs. 3D printing has undergone an accelerated rebound in the world market, with an annual growth rate close to 30%, and a growing tendency.

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