By Kim Slowey, ConstructionDIVE
–Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai, inaugurated Dubai’s first fully operational 3-D-printed office building this week, according to 3DPrint.com.
–All elements of the 2,000-square-foot building were 3-D-printed — including the furniture — with a 20-foot high, 120-foot long and 40-foot wide 3-D printer with a robotic arm in only 17 days. The materials used to 3-D print the building included reinforced concrete, glass-fiber-reinforced gypsum and fiber-reinforced plastic.
–The arc-shaped structure — the only 3-D printed office building in the world — is the first completed project under Dubai’s 3-D printing initiative, which officials said will result in 25% of all buildings in the city being 3-D printed by 2030.
Builders all over the world are experimenting with 3-D printing technology, but this ready-to-work-in office building represents one of the first usable projects in the 3-D printing arena. Sheikh Mohammad said the building is a case study for future projects and the “real application” of 3-D printing technology.
Dubai’s 3-D initiative, called The Dubai Future Agenda, establishes a 3-D printing plan that includes diverse items ranging from buildings to medical industry bones and teeth. Officials said the plan will be carried out through collaboration between all levels of the country’s government, the private sector and universities.
3-D printing can reduce production time by 50%-70%, labor cost by 50%-80% and construction waste by 30%-60%, according to 3Dprint.com. In addition, researchers are finding their own unique ways of utilizing the technology, including creating substitutes for concrete, producing emergency housing in disaster or poverty-stricken areas, building hotels and experimenting with outer space construction.
Another recent example of 3-D innovation is a plan for the world’s first 3-D-printed excavator, which is scheduled to make an appearance next year at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 event in Las Vegas. The excavator will be hydraulic-powered, as well as the first large-scale case of the 3-D-printed-steel process. The project is a collaboration among Georgia Tech, the University of Minnesota and other associations, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory will print it.