Over the last year, I put together articles at times covering the advancement of the 3D printing industry, especially as it applies to construction.
There are a number of projects that took place around the world. Some of the structures were an office building, a housing community, and even a concept for a Mars home.
Most of these were proof of concept projects.
Now, we are seeing one that is completely different. It is a commercial project that is designed to be used upon completion. The company behind the project expects to make money off the building.
In Germany, the companies Peri Group and COBOD are building a 3 story apartment complex. It is over 4,000 square feet and contains 5 units. Unlike a project in China where the walls were printed off site and moved, this apartment will be constructed completely on site.
Bringing 3D printing into the mainstream of the construction industry is a worthwhile goal, because the technology saves on all kinds of costs while still yielding safe, durable structures. It’s also much faster than traditional construction methods, making it a prime tool for situations like disaster relief where dwellings need to go up quickly and cheaply.
The printing process is expected to take about 6 weeks.
In my view, this is a major step forward. Advancements like this will help to bring 3D printing in construction mainstream. What is really exciting is the fact that things can move very quickly.
All of this falls under informational technology. While these printers are construction feats themselves, they are digital in nature and driven by software. This means that the progress forward is going to experience exponential impacts.
I am reminded of the path we took in the 1990s and 2000s with regular printers. The early ones were large, slow, clunky, and expensive. They are rather primitive compared to what showed up in less than a decade.
It is likely we will see a similar jump in 3D printers, especially in the construction industry. Over the next couple years, there will be a race for "bragging rights" where companies vie for the title of building the largest project.
This will help to advance the entire industry as companies push the boundaries of innovation further out.
Again, I am reminded of 2D printing. By the mid 1990s, laser color printing was possible. Yet the print speeds were slow and both machine/supplies were expensive. We see the same thing with 3D printing in general where the material sciences is enabling new printing supplies to be used.
Over the next few years, we will experience a duplication of 20+ years ago in the 3D printing world.
All of this will help to bring down construction costs while also providing more speed in the industry. Out of this, more buildings will be provided for lower costs. It should end up going exponential in the middle of the decade.
Here is a video of printer in Germany.