3D printing is slowly but surely changing the way we look at manufacturing and how we approach problem-solving across a wide array of industries.
Whether it’s a home-based product like the ThingMaker from Mattel, a 3D printing BioPen that lets doctors draw cartilage implants during surgery, a prototype that prints metal in midair or an industrial-grade machine like HP’s new Jet Fusion 3D printer, advancements in manufacturing technology really are impacting the world around us.
The latest example of this comes from Dubai where the first functioning 3D printed office building is now in commission. Officials say a 20-foot x 120-foot x 40-foot printer was used to build the single-level, 2,700-square-foot building in just 17 days at a cost of around $140,000.
The facility, which Dubai first announced in the summer of 2015, was printed using a special mixture of cement, gypsum reinforced with glass fiber and plastic that has undergone a range of tests in China and the UK to ensure its reliability. Designers went with an arc shape for the exterior for both safety and stability purposes.
According to Emirates 24/7 News, labor for the project included one staffer to monitor the printer’s function, seven people to install the building’s components on-site and a team of 10 electricians and other specialists to handle electrical and mechanical installations. By reducing the number of people involved, labor costs were reduced by more than 50 percent compared to what it would cost in labor to build a conventional building of similar size.
Images courtesy Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters