3D printing has been described as very disruptive and although it rapidly developed by various industries since the beginning of the previous decade, the construction industry is still dominated by old-fashioned construction operations.
As 3D printing patents are expiring, the costs of these systems are decreasing dramatically, and they are now becoming more and more accessible to the general public. Collectively, these trends are leading to a democratisation of manufacturing. 3D printing, now often referred to as additive manufacturing to emphasise production rather than prototyping, is evolving.
With additive manufacturing (AM) we can expand the design space and rethink how we design products and how we define their performance based on digital data. AM is the cornerstone of the manufacturing revolution as it is also part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It enables designers and engineers to change from advanced prototyping to mass production with fully customised products, while it reduces the time to the market. AM opens the door to new possibilities that we have not leveraged before while it makes us re-think the job of the engineer.
This project aims to capitalise on the latest developments in additive manufacturing and material selection and it fosters new opportunities for the construction industry while printing larger size specimens and structural products with precision and quality control.