Additive manufacturing is beginning to play a critical role in construction. And concrete 3D printing has more and more followers among architects and builders for two reasons: it is cheaper and faster than traditional systems. But it is also more sustainable : the optimization algorithms used to produce it cut the amount of material required by half.
Now one more advantage is added: the possibility of customization . From the Zurich School of Technology (ETHZ) they have launched the Fast Complexity project , an automated solution that combines the speed of 3D printing of concrete with the geometric precision of reusable formwork.
To demonstrate the new system, ETH in collaboration with Digital Building Technologies (DBT) , have developed an innovative process that allows dynamically controlling the setting speed of 3D printed concrete .
The digital control over the properties of the material means that the builders can “extrude a fluid concrete that perfectly emulates the complex surface of the desired model, without the need for additional formwork for the upper structure”, they point out from DBT. That is, a new aesthetic can be achieved in the slabs with functional characteristics on both sides.
3D printing with this new system makes construction more sustainable (uses less material and pollutes less), more efficient (requires less labor and is faster) and cheaper .
It also adds the freedom with which builders can design their jobs without the limitations of the predefined geometries of the traditional system. The customization is unlimited . Creativity has no limits.
Its creators say that this new 3D printing technique will allow a “diverse repertoire of design solutions contextualized in real buildings”.