Construction 3D Printing

The AEC industry consists of three separate segments: architecture, engineering and construction. Thus, by integrating these seemingly separate entities into a single industry, ACE professionals can work more efficiently. For architects, engineers, and contractors alike, construction 3D printing represents the full integration of these approaches.

Over the past two decades, these segments have undergone a deep transformation by adopting digital and 3D technologies. As a result, architecture first, and engineering shortly thereafter, have already embraced the digital manufacturing workflow. On the other hand, the construction segment has only recently begun to look at 3D printing and the use of digital additive technologies. The potential to replace “analogic” practices and manual labor is a huge opportunity.

Change is inevitable

While it appears inevitable, the shift toward construction 3D printing is not going to be an easy and seamless transition. Furthermore, the construction industry has typically been slow to embrace technology. This is now changing for the good. The use of technology to deliver projects is accelerating. The appropriate use of the correct technologies can help to deliver successful projects.

From just 10 firms active in 2017, 3dpbm‘s 3D Printing Business Directory now lists over 40 Construction 3D Printer Hardware Manufacturers and nearly 50 Construction 3D Printing Service Providers (some companies are the same as hardware manufacturers also provide services). The most relevant trend that manifested over the past three-year period is that large material firms (such as St Gobain, Heidelberg Cements/Italcementi and LaFargeHolceim) and several large real estate investment funds are becoming involved directly through partnerships and acquisitions.

A global opportunity

Relevant initiatives are taking place in every continent, with markets in China, Russia, MEMA and Europe (mainly Holland, Denmark, Germany but also Spain and Italy) leading the way. North America is now becoming much more actively involved and taking up a leadership role in many approaches (especially in terms of off-grid and sustainable housing or defense applications). Relevant opportunities for affordable 3D printed housing are also expected to rise in emerging and developing economies.

Multi-story (up to 4) capabilities are now starting to become available. Furthermore, construction 3D printing is not just for housing: applications include restorations, bridges, pedestrian passageways, river revetment walls, statues, furniture, fences, fountains… In this rapidly developing context, the multi-trillion dollar construction segment is soon to be dramatically disrupted.

  • Striatus 3D printed masonry footbridge completed in Venice

    The Striatus in Venice, the first-of-its-kind 3D concrete printed bridge, is a project we first told you about last March when the initial parametric design by Block Research Group and Zaha Hadid Architects was complete and construction commenced, in collaboration with incremental3D and Holcim. Only a few months later, this…

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  • Queen of the Netherlands officially inaugurates MX3D bridge

    After just over 2 years of suspense (since the metal 3D printing phase was completed), the MX3DBridge has finally being placed and inaugurated in the city center of Amsterdam. The company finalized it and tested the sensor network. The event is so momentous that Queen Máxima of the Netherlands participated…

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  • Here’s Vertico EVA, a €50,000 construction 3D printer

    Vertico, one of several developers and manufacturers of robotic construction 3D printing platforms, is showing off Vertico EVA, the first entry-level construction 3D printer, priced at $50,000 and targeting R&D activities by companies and universities. As construction 3D printing emerges, in just a few short years, from a “gimmick”, as…

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  • A 3D printed construction 3D printing museum is set to open in China

    Fab-Union, a Chinese company specializing in various robotic construction technologies, is 3D printing a massive cement structure that, according to sources, will host the first Construction 3D Printing Museum. Not much is known about the museum at this time, but as we always do we will continue to monitor this…

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  • JGC installs first COBOD construction 3D printer in Japan

    JGC Holdings, a Japanese energy giant, established the EPX DX Department for digital transformation in September 2020. In April 2021 the company created a new DfAM Unit, as an organization to promote construction automation and 3D printing technology. Now the company is exploring construction 3D printing by introducing the first…

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  • ETH will 3D print a 23-meter tall White Tower on the Swiss alps

    The village of Mulegns is located on the Julier Pass road, and has just 16 inhabitants. The aim of the ETH project is to bring in culture and revitalize the area. This plan is the brainchild of Giovanni Netzer, theatre director and founder of the Origen cultural festival. To this…

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  • World’s first 3D printed school by 14Trees inaugurated in Malawi

    Danish robot 3D construction printer company COBOD International A/S, which made the 3D construction printers that were behind Europe’s first one, two and 3 floors buildings among others, is now also responsible for delivering the printer, that made the world’s first 3D printed school. The school in Malawi was 3D…

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  • The 3D printed Fibonacci House by TAM is now listed on Airbnb

    The Fibonacci House 3D printed by Twente Additive Manufacturing (TAM) is now the World’s first fully 3D Printed concrete tiny home to be listed on the popular house-sharing network Airbnb. Users of the platform will thus have the opportunity to spend a few nights in one of the world’s very…

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  • Virginia Tech to acquire COBOD construction 3D printer

    Dr. Andrew McCoy and Dr. Philip Agee have been awarded a $500,000, 1-year grant by Virginia Housing (formerly VHDA) to design and produce Virginia’s first 3D printed concrete home. The Virginia Tech researchers will study appropriate markets for this innovative technology and engage K-12, college and professionals in new curriculum…

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  • Habitat for Humanity 3D prints affordable housing in Arizona

    Danish construction 3D printer company COBOD, the current segment leader in Europe, recently entered the US market via a partnership with Printed Farms in Florida. The company is now expanding its footprint in the US to address the widespread lack of affordable housing in partnership with the non-profit organization Habitat…

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