The First Park to be Built Using 3D Printing is in China
Usually when we talk about 3D printing and construction, it’s in relation to the now numerous buildings made with 3D printed walls. Between houses, stores, offices and even schools, there are countless initiatives mixing 3D printing and the building sector. Now another company has recently made the news. Advanced Intelligent Construction Technology, also known as AICT, has used their machines to decorate a park using 3D printing for concrete structures and other objects in Shenzhen, China.
With a surface area of 5,523 square meters, the park has more than 2,000 3D printed elements according to AICT. This includes sculptures, benches, flower beds, retaining walls, and curbs which adorn this large green space. Xu Weiguo, a professor at Tsinghua University’s School of Architecture, is in charge of the project. He explained why he and his team opted for additive manufacturing, stating “As a form of intelligent construction, 3D printing concrete construction technology boasts great advantages. Compared with reinforced concrete, 3D printing is relatively cheap, since the building simulation stage will solve technical problems in advance and come up with the optimum construction method.” Note, by the way, that this is not Professor Weiguo’s first 3D printing project – he also used concrete 3D printing to build a book cabin in Shanghai.
A more sustainable construction method
Ecological factors were an additional motivator for the people behind the project to chose additive manufacturing. Unlike traditional concrete, 3D printed concrete does not require any formwork, which is usually made of wood and discarded after use. The one developed by AICT is said to be composed of 50% sand that can be obtained locally, thus reducing the environmental footprint and transportation costs. Furthermore, 3D printing allows concrete to be printed only where it is needed, using only the amount of material required.
In addition to being an environmentally friendly construction method, additive manufacturing is also faster and more affordable than conventional methods. Compared to reinforced concrete, 3D-printed concrete is much less expensive, especially because of the simulation stage, which allows technical problems to be solved in advance and the optimal construction method to be found. Finally, AICT says it can build a modest-sized house in just a few weeks rather than months with its 6-axis robotic arm. This is proven for them by the fact that they claim to have designed all 2,000 parts in the park in just 2.5 months. In any case, seeing additive manufacturing used to decorate public spaces bodes well and means that, little by little, the technology is becoming more democratic. You can find out more about the project HERE.
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*Cover Photo Credits: AICT