in the Construction Industry
in the Construction Industry
A Guide to 3D Printing in the Construction Industry
Photopolymers have come a long way, from 3D printing in healthcare to 3D printed jewellery and 3D printing in the automotive industry . They are special materials that can change from a liquid to a solid state when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. This offers the potential to streamline processes as well as to cut production costs across a multitude of industries.
The origins of using photopolymers in construction originate in Japan. In 1981, Dr. Hideo Kodama developed a rapid prototyping system by printing photopolymer layers that looked like a CAD model. 3 years later, Charles Hull created stereolithography (SLA). Since then, 3D printing in construction has become a game-changer, leading to streamlined processes, reduced costs and better results.
The Benefits of 3D Printing Being Used in Construction
The benefits of additive manufacturing in construction are manifold: faster turnaround, lower labour costs, waste reduction and high-quality, complex designs.
3D printing speeds up the entire construction process. The turnaround time can be up to 2x faster when using 3D printing techniques. Prefab houses are even better: While traditional houses need months to complete with regular construction processes, 3D printed prefab houses only need days to complete.
Lower Labour Costs
Next to material costs, labour costs take a huge part in the traditional construction industry. As a rule of thumb, the costs can amount to 20 to 40 % per project. As 3D printing speeds up construction time, labour costs are also reduced significantly.
Raw materials for 3D printing reduce unnecessary waste in construction up to 99%, as materials are only used in the exact required quantity, and no cutting or shaping is needed. Further, materials can be printed on-site, which reduces unnecessary waste due to transport.
3D printing in construction is able to produce complex, intricate designs without the need of manual labour. It allows for unique, custom designs while still keeping high automation rates of up to 80%.
Reducing Human Error
With less human labour and more automation, human error can significantly be reduced, which in turn reduces the risk for construction companies and clients. This makes the process much more efficient and reliable compared to traditional construction methods.
Applications of 3D Printing in Construction
Additive manufacturing in construction offers precision, automation and low investment costs. As a result, the applications of 3D printing and photopolymers are countless, from creating prototypes to actual architectural models.
Creating Architectural Models
Photopolymers can help create highly accurate and precise architectural models. This has become a popular method, as the models provide a tangible and detailed representation of a building or structure. Architectural models help all stakeholders involved, including architects and clients, to visualise the design before the construction.
3D resins offer enough flexibility to create a wide range of prototypes, including cladding panels, facades, fittings or fixtures. While traditional prototyping processes take days or weeks to complete, 3D printing can create prototypes in several hours.
Besides prototypes, photopolymers are used to create actual parts in the final product. This includes cladding panels, facades, fittings or fixtures. With construction-grade polymers, it is even possible to create walls and other structural elements.
Conclusion: 3D Printing in Construction – A Game-Changing Technology
Photopolymers and additive manufacturing in construction have revolutionised the construction industry as a whole: Clients and companies both profit from lean processes, lower costs and less waste, which has brought new momentum to the industry.
Contact us to find out more about our 3D printing solutions and about how photopolymers enhance your processes.