There are many people who still believe that 3D printing houses and structures are only happening in sci-fi stories, but with the innovation of the 3D technology, this is actually happening now. There are several companies that use large-scale 3D printers for cement and concrete formulas. Although it seems very expensive still as of this time, these construction companies are expecting that the cost for such procedure will eventually drop down as technology continues to improve.
The major obstacle that these construction companies face today is the cement materials. Most of the original cement materials are not yet suitable for the 3D printing system. They need a specific cement material that the 3D printing robots can easily use with in the housing and structure construction projects.
The Thai cement maker, Siam Cement Group (SCG) comes up with a new cement material suitable for the 3D printing system. It is made of a mixture of special powder and fiber that can be quickly printed into desired shape and size, tall or short, and it dry up freestanding even without any support.
This new cement formula was used by the SCG in creating six structural beams, which mimic the bone anatomy. The said beams were strong and reliable while keeping the inside part hollow and spongy for a more resilient structure. Aside from the awesome structural designs, the 3D printing cement also offers a modern design for the modern structures.
Thai architect, Pitupong Chaowakul created a pavilion structure called the “Y-Box Pavilion.” This is actually the first 3D printed structure ever made in the Southeast Asia. The name was based on the common question “why box?” whenever the structure is seen.
The Y-Box Pavilion was displayed at Muang Thong Thani Impact Complex at the Architect 16 exhibition. The structures of the 3D printed cement were similar to the stalagmites in a cave, thus it is called the Cave. This specific design is a unique geometry of strong and beautiful beams durable enough to hold the roof on its top. The 3D printed cement and the 3D printing technology are both commendable for its efficiency and in speeding up the construction process.
The process involves printing of every single part on a 3D printer and snapped together to form the structure. This is the process used in creating the pavilion, as explained by the SCG head, Sanit Kessuwan.
It took three months to design the Y-Box Pavilion, and another one month to fabricate the structure using a large-scale 3D printer. Although it is still early to throw off the hammer and nails and traditional cement in constructing a new house with the use of the 3D technology, with the technology of this generation, soon all the construction companies will start investing on this system to provide better construction process at a faster time-frame. Given the time and further development in the technology, the houses and structures of the next decade will be benefiting the 3D printing technology in the cement and in the construction process.