Smart Building : the revolution of the 3D printer !

The 3D printer was created between 1983 and 1986 by Charles Hull and the first three-dimensional printer was officially marketed in 1986. Its democratization is due to its wide affordability, making it nowadays revolutionary because it allows to almost print everything.


What is a 3D Printer?


“A 3D printer, or three-dimensional printer, is a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) device that creates three-dimensional objects. Like a traditional printer, a 3D printer receives digital data from a computer as input. However, instead of printing the output on paper, a 3D printer builds a three-dimensional model out of a custom material.”


How it works?


3D printers use “a process called additive manufacturing to form physical objects layer by layer until the model is complete. This is different than subtractive manufacturing, in which a machine reshapes or removes material from an existing mold. Since 3D printers create models from scratch, they are more efficient and produce less waste than subtractive manufacturing devices”.

The process of printing a 3D model depends on the material used to create the object. Suitable materials that will serve as raw materials for the manufacture of the object are usually plastic, resin, clay, ceramic, metal, or wax…

Recently, 3D printers have become much cheaper and are now available to everyone. As the technology becomes more widespread, 3D printers may become a viable way for people to create their own home products.


What can we print with it ?


At the moment, 3D printing is mainly used in professional circles like construction, design, medicine and engineering.

Thanks to the great width of manufacturing, only two main limits are remaining: the printer’s size and the user’s creativity.

3D printing concerns further sectors such as jewellery, food, fahion, DIY and many more.


What revolution operates the 3D printer in smart building?


The power of 3D printing is directly proven with these concrete examples in the building register:

  • In 2014, thanks to a 3D printer, a chinese company Shanghai Winsun Decoration Design Engineering Co built ten houses of 200 m2 in 24 hours at a price of 3,500 euros each in the district of Qingpu in Shanghai with concrete from recycled construction waste stemming from decommissioned cement and fiber glass plants.
  • In March 2017, start-up Apis Cor in partnership with the Russian company PIK was able to build a house of 38 m2 for about $ 10,000 in less than 24 hours in the city of Stupino near Moscow.
  • In September 2017 in Nantes, a house was built in 3D printing. It’s the first in the world to obey building standards and intended to be inhabited. This house is called Yhnova, it is 95 m2 and obeys 100% french construction standards. The technology implemented for this project was developed in Nantes and is called BatiPrint3D. This house is also the first housing in 3D printing concrete to be built in public since the 3D printing robot is portable and works on site.


This new process of construction reduces costs, saves time and would address the various housing problems by being a moderated price housing solution. It could also be used to build emergency accommodation in the event of a natural disaster.


One of the other possibilities of the 3D printer is the scalable architecture which allows housing to adapt on demand to the needs and evolutions of life.

Indeed, the Malaysian architect, Haseef Rafiei imagined the project Pod Vending Machine Skycraper: a skyscraper composed of removable housing-capsules printed in 3D and fully customizable. Habitats, all evolving and modular, are then produced on the chain inside a gigantic grid that serves as a facade to the tower. Entirely customizable, this housing could then be composed of different spaces attached to each other. To put it simply, it is a kind of factory that makes the apartment in less than 24 hours. A crane then moves your home to its location, as in a construction game. This flexible system would also avoid moving. If a room is needed, it’s made and grafted to the apartment. And if the surrounding areas are already occupied, depending on the space available, the crane can move the apartment into a larger space in the same building or install it in another building-grid. This tower would be in perpetual evolution.

A propos de Marina LI

Etudiante en M2 Gestion et Droit de l'Économie Numérique - Parcours Droit de l'Économie Numérique à l'Université de Strasbourg, je suis passionnée par les évolutions des nouvelles technologies et les enjeux qu'elles suscitent. Je m'intéresse au droit des données personnelles ainsi qu'à la propriété intellectuelle.

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