The construction field is a multi-billion-dollar industry. However, this industry is still basically doing things the same way it has for a hundred years. The process of building a house or an office complex is very much the same today as it was in the early 1900’s. A concrete foundation is poured, framing work is done, insulation goes in and then sheetrock. High-end finishes on cabinets and floors can push the sales price up considerably. This whole process can take months depending on the size of the house or building. But, could 3-D printers create a house?
New Innovations in 3-D Printers
Imagine being able to complete the job in just a couple of days. 3-D printing makes that possible. It began as a novelty concept. It seemed like a cool idea that probably wouldn’t work in a real-life construction project. But inventors and designers kept working with the technology and today, it’s actually very efficient. One of the big moves forward came when researchers began experimenting with all types of materials. To date, researchers have successfully built designs out of plastic, glass, metal and even food.
Though 3-D printing of structures began as a novelty, a few entrepreneurs realized the potential and have not stopped perfecting the technique. The older systems were limited in the size they could build. This was due to the fact that the finished structure had to fit within the size of the overall enclosure. A revolutionary new design uses a large robotic arm with a smaller, more precise arm at its end. This technique makes it possible for the construction nozzle to spray substances in any direction.
The first prototype of 3-D printers
Researchers have already proven the concept by constructing a 12-foot-high dome that is 50 feet in diameter. This project was completed in about 14 hours. The framework was completed by filling polyurethane foam molds with concrete. The work was also tested to see whether it would comply with current building codes and it passed with flying colors.
A new article in Science Robotics suggests that 3-D printing would be perfect for construction in remote areas of the world. They visualize placing a 3-D printing system on Mars that could continually build things. This idea certainly has potential and it solves the problems associated with human construction workers. Humans need food, water, and air to breathe, but a 3-D printer just needs to be set up properly. It can be powered by the sun; solar power is now cheaper than ever. The only thing left is the actual materials used in construction.
If researchers are right, 3-D printing could be used in many places where it’s very difficult to bring in materials and workers. Antarctica is one of those places, along with any area that has just been devastated by a big natural disaster. A 3-D printer could be brought in to build temporary housing for disaster relief workers. Whereas in the past, this type of project might take a month or more to complete, this new technology could get it done in a few days and without risking the lives of workers.
Will human workers someday be replaced by machines?
As this technology moves forward and new discoveries are made, structures will be built in less time and for less money. Will it eventually make the human construction worker redundant? No, of course not. Humans will always be needed to set up and use the equipment. Human workers will need to be around when the 3-D printer goes haywire. They’ll be needed to make repairs when structures start to wear out. There are many areas where humans must be involved, especially in harsh climates or on alien planets.
Custom home designs
The hope for those in the 3-D construction industry is that it will continue to evolve. New and better designs will make the process even easier. Stronger building materials will make the structures more durable. The building process could be customized for special requirements. For instance, you might want to use additional insulation in a basement or on the side of the house furthest from the sun. You might live in an area with high winds. The building’s design could incorporate curves instead of hard edges so that the wind would flow around the structure more efficiently.
The possibilities are endless and experts believe that 3-D printing will someday replace the traditional construction process. Good electricians, plumbers, and other construction workers will still be in high demand though.
Exceptional storage options from RolaCase
Skilled construction workers will never be out of style. And, they’ll want hard-working tools. Your tools deserve the best storage system. A good modular tool storage system will keep your tools from damage. Every tool needs its own place so you don’t spend an hour looking for one wrench. Plus, van racking systems can be customized for any type of usage.
RolaCase has a whole line of tough tool storage products that are fully guaranteed. You can find a trade package for your work van that includes all the basics. Our durable trolley cabinets make it simple to take your tools out to the building site. The RolaCase site has a whole range of products that electricians and construction workers need to store their tools properly. Why not check it out today?