The technology of 3D printing in construction

The technology of 3D printing in construction

Printing in 3D is nothing more than a revolution taking place in the field of science and technology here and now. Progress is moving around the planet at a rapid pace, today 3D printing has firmly strengthened its position in people's lives. What seemed unreal a week ago, bordering on a fantasy phenomenon, today is a common thing. Now, with the help of 3D printing technology, it is possible to make even artificial limbs for the hand of a human hand, and it promises great changes in medicine, engineering, electronics and radio engineering. Experts faced with the question: is it possible to use 3D printers in such an important sphere as construction?

It is determined that the main difference between a 3D printer and any robotized industrial technique is the method of manufacturing the product. For example, a 3D printer designed for the construction industry is equipped with a nozzle or extruder, so that a quick-setting process solution is extruded. The dimensions of the working area, on which the 3D product is created, are determined by the size of the nozzle stroke. By the way, there is no need to install a formwork. It turns out that a building 3D printer is a device that can create finished structures on a flat surface, when it is connected to a power source, without other equipments.

There are three main methods by which 3D products are created:

1. Extruding the viscous working solution layer by layer.

In this variant, a viscous concrete solution is displaced with additives from the nozzle. It looks like squeezing toothpaste from a tube.

For the first time such a technique was publicly presented in late summer 2012 by a professor at the University of Southern California named Baruch Koshnowits. Scientists with whom he worked with put forward the innovative idea of a huge printer, which must be collected and installed in the construction site by the type of overhead crane.

The Association of British Scientists, under the leadership of Dr. Sungwa Lima of the University of Loughborough, was the first to print a hollow panel with rounded outlines.

The same scheme also used construction printers for volumetric printing of the Chinese company Shanghai WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co, which in 2014 became the first company to print a batch of real houses.

2. Sintering method / selective compound.

This technique involves melting the working solution in the working area of the printer. By the way, melting is carried out by a directional laser or by a solar beam, and simple sand is used as a working material. At the time of writing, only one copy of such a mechanism was known, which was invented by Marcus Kaiser, a student at the Royal College of Art.

3. Method of spraying, or component gluing (stereolithography).

This method became known thanks to a group of scientists from the Catalan Institute of Advanced Architecture, led by Petr Novikov, who developed and created the "Stone Spray Robot" mechanism, and thanks to the development of "D-Shape" structures by Enrico Dini from Monolite UK. In the process, sand is poured out of the nozzle, which is then mixed with the gluing agent, forming a three-dimensional product in the place specified by the program.

The technology of 3D printing in construction

Ways of sintering and spraying are very interesting and elegant in terms of ideas, because the energy of the sun is used, they are environmentally safe, and the movement of sand jets can be observed forever. The end products are very unusual. In principle, already today, using these methods, you can easily build small architectural figures, for example, a sandbox. However, imagining that houses will be made of sand, converted to a glassy mixture, is still difficult.

From the given methods of creating volume, the interest of builders is mainly caused by the method of extrusion, because at the moment relatively large load-bearing structures and real houses have already been manufactured.

The architects of Europe primarily focus on the ecology and aesthetics of the method and products, but the Chinese developers immediately demonstrate the pragmatic nature of the buildings. Most of the idealists of 3D were disappointed with the party of ordinary, slightly rude externally built houses built by a Chinese company. However, many overlook the fact that a series of these rectangular designs are nothing but a part of a clearly marked technological chain.

A massive construction of plants for processing construction debris and debris is planned, and the resulting material will be used in the production of a working solution for a volumetric printer. Considering a fact that China has already achieved a lot in the field of bioenergy, and specifically - the prevalence of power plants for the use of solar and wind energy, it is not surprising that even directly at landfills, huge aggregates for grinding debris will be installed, which for their operation will be Use electrical energy from a nearby bio-electric power plant.

Constructed from patented matter (which is a composition of construction waste, concrete and additives) at home, belong to the segment of cheap, quickly built housing. This gives an explanation of their external unattractiveness.

Speaking about the methods of volumetric construction, some experts give the palm tree not the most 3D printer. A building 3D device is an element of an innovative technique, and most likely, it is not the most complicated from a technical point of view. The device of this unit has been used for a long time, but there are still no structures, except for a batch of Chinese houses. In a large number of units, two types of construction robots have already been manufactured: in the form of a gantry crane and in the form of a boom.

More problems arise with the composition of the working solution and the conceptual architecture.

In the process of forming working questions on this topic, immediately formed more than 30 points.

Sebastian Bernard suggested an idea which deserves attention. His concept is based on the idea of supplying a working solution under high pressure in a 3D device, which is presented in the form of a bridge structure and has a rather elegant appearance.

The technology of 3D printing in construction

Delivery of a thick concrete mix under the influence of pressure makes it possible to make the 3D printing technique very real. Modern high-strength reactive powdered concrete is very suitable for building printers of volumetric printing.

To create the technology of the whole process, apart from the working staff, an important role is played by the architectural plan of a particular building or series of buildings acting as a single building site.

The dimensions of the arched two-story building will allow using 3D-units having a relatively small cost and dimensions, will be able to resolve issues with overlapping and will enable to create houses at a rapid pace, abundantly, cheaply and beautifully. In the range of a small village, it is possible to use bridge type printers, because rail tracks can be moved along the progress of construction work.

A lot of problems arise regarding the methods of construction. First, the effect of the joints, which are located every three to five cm, on the strength of the structure. The second, available way of laying reinforcement is very controversial. Chinese developers use fiberglass mesh as a reinforcing element. Anyway, it's captured on the video.

There are considerations about the possibility of using fiber-reinforced concrete and it is likely that such a domed structure in a couple of floors is capable of withstanding the certification procedure. Experts propose to fasten the reinforcement to sticks, etc. Naturally, at the moment all these are just workarounds. Probably, the task of online reinforcement can be solved using two building robots at the same time: one puts the armature, the other - the mixture. The automation process becomes simpler, thanks to the lack of formwork.

With the installation of communication systems such as ventilation, sewerage, heating is increasingly simple. Printers of volumetric printing belong to the category of robots with a thorough reproducibility of operations, so the joining of pipe components in the established sequence is quite realistic. Of course, industrial designers will need to develop new types of components of engineering systems.

In general, many similar technical difficulties are characteristic of the crucial time, which includes printers of volumetric printing. At a certain stage, obsolete and newest technologies will exist in parallel, combining with each other. As a rule, this is the time of psychological perception. After all, at any time there were those who aspired to change and technical progress, and there were those who by all efforts resisted this. And now they are.

The construction printer of volumetric printing is a revolution in the scientific and technical field, that's why many people cannot realize it.

In fact, now it is difficult to imagine the fact that the way the construction company will radically change. There will be no need to hire several brigades, superintendents, superiors. The basic structure of the organization will be simpler: a team of professional staff and several robots; operator of the 3D printer (3 people, if you work in 3 shifts), the logistics and the workers who supply the working solution, the specialists who install IT systems.

A building 3D printer is the automation of the production process. Of course, the interconnected areas must also correspond to the level of the century of robots. Where will the working solution be manufactured, how will the transport logistics be arranged, what parameters should the warehouse for the components have? To all these and other questions, naturally, sooner or later scientists will find solutions. The field of 3D robotics is developing at a frantic pace.

The technology of 3D printing in construction

In addition to the fact that the robotization of construction will make it possible to build cheap housing massively for the middle class of the population, it is assumed that this way it will be possible to solve the problem of the shortage of residential areas in megacities. Peter Ebner from Germany and his students built a house-shell with the help of a construction robot.

The Age of Automatic Construction

Already today we have such conditions and clear boundaries when an architect, an engineer of industrial and civil construction, a technologist can develop a feasible, socially targeted project in a profitable business format. Of course, with the help of other narrow specialists: materials scientists, logistics specialists, design engineers. The approach to solving problems must be exceptionally complex: the architecture and format of the settlements should be socially in demand, the building materials and engineering elements should be mounted easily and conveniently, transport logistics and warehousing logistics should be automated, all this will give an opportunity to talk about the revolution in the construction field.