Tuesday, March 01 2016
Glimpse into the (not so distant) future of 3D printing for Building & Design
The same way the computer enhanced photography and graphic (2D) design, 3D printing looks to have a powerful impact in the world of architecture and building as it allows for structures and parts to be created at the touch of a button. Developed by American engineer Chuck Hull, the technology used laser light to form solid shapes from polymers. 3D printing can now utilize a range of materials from concrete to wood or bamboo with some architects and designers starting to utilize smaller printers in their studios to aid in the creative process.
Seemingly, the possibilities for 3D printing are endless….It may, someday, even help build entire skyscrapers.
1. China takes it the extreme.
China and ingenuity come hand-in-hand. It should come to no surprise that the largest 3D printed structure was printed there. Designed by architects Xu Feng and Yu Lei, Vulcan (the structure, not the Star Trekkian planet) stands at 9.4 feet tall, and 27 feet across. Even though it’s the largest 3D printed object in existence, it also shows the size limitations of 3D printing–at this point in time.
2. A Dutch Full House (Not starring Bob Saget)
Architects in Holland are currently constructing a canal house made from 80 percent bioplastics. This renewable/sustainable project is set to be finished by 2017, and will be using much less raw material than its other canal house brethren.
3. Smart . . . Buildings?
That’s right: buildings that can adjust their structure on their own. These buildings would adjust appropriately to the climate without the need for mechanical or digital interference, emulating nature with the idea of things adapting to changing conditions – just look at pinecones – once they fall to the ground they change shape by opening their scales to release their seeds.
4. Pioneers Wanted
3D is currently in its infancy, and we are still trying to comprehend all of the benefits it has to offer…from less pollution to eventually taking a fraction of what it takes to construct modern buildings. Currently, many of the materials that it takes to construct safe buildings are not yet able to be printed, but this technology seems to be the threshold of a new era and we can wait to see what’s next!
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