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Understanding concrete 3D printer

For customers in every segment of the construction sector and all across the world, CyBe Construction provides 3D concrete printing services. The often-complex building process is made simpler with CyBe technology, software, and educational materials, making 3D concrete printing available to everyone.

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However, 3D concrete printers are the ideal solution to your building difficulty because of their quick cycle times, quick changeovers, and consistent precision.

Well, in this article I’ll be discussing about concrete 3D printer in construction as the following questions will be discussed:

  • What is concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the types of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the uses concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the construction methods in concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the futures of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the challenges of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of concrete 3D printer?

Ok, let’s begin!

Contents

What is concrete 3D printer?

Very large 3D printers, frequently spanning 30 feet in height and length, are used in 3D concrete printing to extrude concrete from a nozzle. Typically, these machines are either gantry or robotic arm systems. No matter how the printer is set up, almost all of them continually extrude a concrete material that resembles dough and is then applied in layers to produce the necessary building part.

Furthermore, the process is known as 3D concrete printing, the substance is not usually concrete in the strictest sense of the word. Aside from local natural elements like sand, metal, and clay, construction companies can 3D print with different types of mortar, plastic and recycled plastic, as well as local moon rock and mars dust.

However, the flexibility of the technology is creating new possibilities for constructing that is more sustainable and that uses recycled, discarded, and local resources.

Read more: Everything you need to know 3D printer building

What are the types of concrete 3D printer?

  • Layered extrusion 3D printing.
  • Binder jetting.

Layered extrusion 3D printing

concrete extrusion in layers A numerically controlled nozzle is used in 3D printing to precisely extrude a cementitious paste layer by layer. The thickness of layers typically ranges from 5 mm to a few centimeters. An automatic troweling tool that flattens the 3D-printed layers and fills in the grooves at the interlayer interfaces may be used in conjunction with the extrusion nozzle to produce a smooth concrete surface.

However, for the integration of modular steel reinforcing bars or integrated building services, such as conduits for electrical or plumbing, in a single fabrication phase, additional automation steps have been suggested. Process planning and deposition speed are important factors that affect how quickly the material stiffens and hardens in this process. Large-scale 3D printers are often used in conjunction with layered extrusion 3D concrete printing for on-site construction (see section on 3D Printers). A rising number of institutions, start-ups, and well-known, established construction corporations have recently developed specialized hardware, concrete mixtures, and automated settings for concrete extrusion 3D printing, reflecting the growing interest in the technology. Uses include prefabricated or on-site construction of bridges, columns, walls, floor slabs, street furniture, water tanks, and whole buildings.

Limitation and advantages of layered extrusion 3D printing

Below are the limitation and advantages of layered extrusion 3D printing:

Formwork is not necessary with layered extrusion 3D printing, unlike traditional concrete casting and spraying. This is a considerable advantage given that formworks can consume between 50 and 80 percent of the resources in concrete construction, more than raw materials, reinforcement, and labor put together. The set on demand rheology of concrete, the incorporation of reinforcing, and the creation of cold joints at the interface between succeeding layers are the key issues of multilayer concrete extrusion.

Binder jetting

Before Joseph Pegna used the technology to print concrete, binder jet 3D printing, sometimes referred to as powder bed and binder 3D printing, was first invented at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for activating starch or gypsum powder with water as a binder. Binder jetting involves layer-by-layer selective application of a liquid binder by a print head to a substrate made of powder. The layer height, which normally ranges between 0.2 and 2 mm, affects the finished part’s speed and amount of detail. After the multilayer manufacturing is finished, binder-jetting requires post-processing processes. The unconsolidated powder must first be manually removed using vacuum tubes and brushes. In microwaves or ovens with controlled humidity and temperature, additional curing stages can also be required.

Furthermore, coatings may be used to increase the surface quality of the part or to consolidate minor surface characteristics. Polyester or epoxy resin are typical coating materials. Enrico Dini’s D-Shape has successfully demonstrated 3D concrete printing using binder jetting technology. D-Shape is based on a non-hydraulic Sorel cement that uses a liquid magnesium chloride solution as a binder and sand that has been activated with magnesium oxide in a powder bed. The technology has primarily been applied to the design of furniture, such the Root Chair, which KOL/MAC LLC Architecture + Design created in 2009.

However, D-Shape created substantial architectural components including the Ferreri House for the Triennale di Milano in 2010, the 3 m x 3 m x 3 m Radiolaria pavilion designed by Shiro Studio in 2008, and a 12-meter-long footbridge by Acciona in Madrid in 2017. California-based company Emerging Objects is another proponent of binder-jet 3D concrete printing. The business utilized an organic binder and iron oxide-free cement to construct the Bloom pavilion in 2015. The project is frequently mentioned among other binder-jet 3D concrete printing projects due to the usage of cement in the powder bed, albeit it is unclear whether any cement hydration was involved in the process. 840 little building blocks from Emerging Objects were manufactured, as opposed to the single-piece construction of D-buildings, Shape’s to make the 3.6 x 3.6 x 2.7 m structure.

Limitation and advantages of binder jetting

Below are the limitation and advantages of binder jetting:

Binder jetting offers a greater degree of geometric freedom than other 3D printing techniques for use in architecture, including the ability to produce hollow objects and unsupported cantilevers or overhangs. Binder jetting relies on the bed of unbonded powder to provide continuous support for succeeding layers throughout manufacturing, as opposed to other 3D printing techniques that call for additional support structures.

However, leftover powder from binder jet 3D printing can be used again for subsequent pieces. The exposure to ambient humidity, which might start the hydration process, makes it difficult to recycle cement and aggregate powder. Binder jet 3D printing is therefore not appropriate for on-site construction.

What are the uses concrete 3D printer?

3D-printed concrete is used in architecture and construction.

Below are the uses of concrete 3D printer:

  • Production of building blocks.
  • Building modules.
  • Street furniture.
  • Pedestrian bridges.
  • Low-rise residential structures.

What are the construction methods in concrete 3D printer?

The manufacture of building components or entire buildings utilizing industrial robots, gantry systems, and tethered autonomous vehicles is one of the many methods that have been shown so far (see section on 3D Printers).

However, the creation of dwellings, building components (cladding, structural panels, and columns), bridges, civil infrastructure, artificial reefs, follies, and artworks have all been demonstrated utilizing 3D printing for construction. Binder jetting, robotic shotcrete, and layered material extrusion are the three construction techniques currently used in 3D concrete printing.

Read more: Understanding green building

What are the futures of concrete 3D printer?

Construction and architecture may change as a result of 3D printed concrete. It may replace the centuries-old methods and techniques that are still used to construct things since it can be utilized to produce novel shapes and forms that present technologies find challenging, leading to decreased prices and saved time.

What are the challenges of concrete 3D printer in construction?

However, before it can be widely adopted, the 3D printing of concrete sector must overcome some obstacles.

Below are the challenges of 3D printer in construction:

  • Limitations in print size (mostly vertically).
  • Limited selection of materials.
  • High technical expertise required to operate and maintain printers.
  • Surface finish of printed elements can be visually unappealing.
  • Building code hurdles.
  • High initial investment cost (printers and related tech).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of concrete 3D printer?

Advantages

Over the past five years, 3D concrete printing for building has advanced quickly thanks to advancements in robotics, material science, and software. What gives, though? What advantages does it have over conventional construction techniques?

However, productivity, affordability, and speed, 3D printing has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry. But it hasn’t quite arrived yet. There is no proof that the houses and buildings that have been constructed so far were done so for a lot less money than what conventional manufacturing would have cost. The components of the residences that are 3D printed were finished far faster than if they were made of brick or wood frame, according to builders, who also claim that 3D printing saves them money on supplies. There was a learning curve because the majority of the projects thus far have been prototypes and proofs of concept. The majority of the 2023 3D printing construction projects are multi-house developments or whole neighborhoods, suggesting that with enough application, the technology may surpass the price and speed of conventional building techniques.

By 2027, the market for 3D printing in building is predicted to be worth $1.5 billion.

Below are advantages of concrete 3D printer:

  • Less waste, no need for large-scale concrete molds or formwork.
  • Faster building times when compared to laying bricks or concrete molding.
  • Greater degree of design freedom, able to produce geometries (curves, hollowness, etc.) traditional concrete molding can’t.
  • Higher productivity (it can print 24/7).
  • Lower need for labor.
  • Lower materials consumption since wall structures can be topologically optimized and partially hollow.

Disadvantages

Below are disadvantages of concrete 3D printer:

  • Restricted Build Size.
  • Post Processing.
  • Large Volumes.
  • Part Structure.
  • Reduction in Manufacturing Jobs.
  • Design Inaccuracies.
  • Copyright Issues.
  • Limited Materials.

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FAQs

How much does a 3D concrete printer cost?

A 3D printer for building might cost anywhere from $180,000 to over $1,000,000. Price-wise, robotic arm systems are often more expensive than gantry-style systems.

Can you 3D print concrete?

Buildings, homes, or construction components can be fabricated in entirely new shapes using 3D concrete printing (3DCP), a type of cementitious additive manufacturing that was previously impossible to do with conventional concrete forms. work.

How strong is 3D printed concrete?

Adversely, well-printed concrete had a density of 2350 kg/m3, a compressive strength range of 75–102 MPa, a flexural strength variety of 6–17 MPa, and a tensile bond strength range from 2.3 to 0.7 MPa, diminishing as the printing time gap between layers rose.

Read more: Understanding concrete anchors

What materials do you need for 3D concrete printing?

Because of its low cost and extensive availability, Portland cement is the most frequently used building material for both traditional concrete applications and 3D printed concrete applications. For 3D printed applications, however, its lengthy setting time and weak bonding power are disadvantages.

How long do 3D printed houses last?

A well-built 3D-printed home could last at least 100 years and possibly much longer than 300 years, according to comparable benchmarks. A well-constructed object has no delamination between its 3D-printed layers and has been properly hydrated during the construction process.

Is 3D printing construction cheap?

When you consider that material budgets are typically around $140,000, removing all of this waste immediately contributes to savings of over $10,000 on the typical project.

How thick is a layer of 3D printed concrete?

The thickness of each layer of concrete is around one inch. As a layer is finished printing, the entire gantry slides up slightly more than half an inch, all controlled by computer software.

Read more: Understanding surveying

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing construction?

Below are the disadvantages of concrete 3D printing construction:

  • Restricted Build Size.
  • Post Processing.
  • Large Volumes.
  • Part Structure.
  • Reduction in Manufacturing Jobs.
  • Design Inaccuracies.
  • Copyright Issues.
  • Limited Materials.

How long does it take for 3D printed concrete to cure?

Samples were exothermically cured for 7 days at 5°C, 20°C, and 35°C. Conventional mortar samples measuring 4x4x16 cm and cylinders that imitate the printed 3D path with a diameter of 46.5 mm and a height of 35 mm were created.

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What is the problem in 3D concrete printing?

The substance itself, concrete, presents the biggest difficulty with 3D printed architecture. If you’ve ever worked with concrete, you are aware of how complicated the material can be. Temperature, humidity, and other variables, as well as its constituent parts, all have an impact on the time it takes for it to set.

That is all for this article, where we’ve discussed the answers to the following questions:

  • What is concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the types of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the uses concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the construction methods in concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the futures of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the challenges of concrete 3D printer?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of concrete 3D printer?

I hope you learn a lot from the reading. If you do, kindly share it with others. Thanks for reading; see you around!

Read more: Everything you need to know 3D printer building