A peek inside the world’s largest 3D-printed building in Dubai

The world’s largest 3D-printed building. (thenational)
  • The two-story 3D printed building stands at a height of 9.5 meters.
  •  The structure of the building was built directly on-site without any extra assembly works.
  • 3D printed buildings are time and cost-effective compared to conventional buildings.

The world’s largest 3D-printed building is now open for the public.

Dubai, has unveiled the world’s largest 3D-printed building barely three years after building the first 3D-printed building on the planet.

The two-story 3D printed building stands at a height of 9.5 meters on an area of 640 square meters.

The facility is already the Guinness World Record according to Dawoud Al Hajiri, the Director-General of Dubai Municipality.

“This project is a major turning point in the construction sector,” said Dawoud Al Hajri, Dubai Municipality director general. 

How it was built from the ground

The structure of the building was built directly on-site without any extra assembly works. 3D printing equipment was locally manufactured, and materials such as adhesives, cement, gypsum, sand etc. was done on site.

The materials were mixed and turned into a fluid then arranged in layers along a predetermined route mapped out by computer, similar to an inkjet printer. Those mineral-infused fluids solidify ­almost immediately into concrete, forming the digital model into a three-dimensional object.

The foundation for the structure employed both conventional and 3D printing methods, while the roof slabs were made of conventional materials.

Building of the future

The Dubai emirate aims to construct 25% of its future buildings using the 3D printing method and become a leading global center of 3D printing by 2030.

3D printed buildings are time and cost-effective compared to conventional buildings and they are also environmentally sustainable.

According to Al Hajiri a building of that size would take only three months of construction to complete at a cost of somewhere between US $21,782 to US $272,270 using 3D printing technology while using the conventional construction method it would take almost a year at cost of up to US $680,674.

“3D printing technologies in construction will increase the speed of execution and lead to the completion of buildings in record time.”

The value of the global 3D printing market is expected to triple by 2025 to $300 billion.

3D buildings couldn’t come at a better time

The entry of 3D building is also expected to aid in solving Dubai’s housing crisis. According to Bloomberg, Dubai is currently faced with a huge surplus of houses and the development industry is calling for a 1-2 year pause on all new construction to ensure demand catches up with supply.

The pause can be a godsend for 3D building constructors to undertake more research and understand market trends and ultimately give 3D buildings a foothold to equally compete with conventional houses without necessary increasing the City’s debt. Today just 2% of Dubai's buildings are 3D printed.

3D buildings are also going to slow down climate change since they don't use cement which is responsible for 8% of worldwide global emissions, concrete accounts for 9% of all industrial water use.

3D buildings saves water and consumes 60% less water than traditional constructions.

Apart from buildings, Dubai's medicine industry is also exploring use of 3D printing to make prosthetics, teeth, hearing aids etc. by the looks of things, the future of 3D printings is sure bright and filled with possibilities.

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