3D Materials and Construction Possibilities (Project Learning With 3D Printing)

Most students will work with a plastic when making things with a 3D printer, but that is only scratching the surface of materials that can be used in these machines. This book takes a look at the different materials that can be used by 3D printers, what those materials can make, and the advantages and disadvantages for each.

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XtreeE and VINCI Construction Partner to Advance 3D Printing in the Construction Industry

vinviFrench construction firm VINCI Construction has a portfolio of projects that are striking, sturdy and sustainable, ranging from climate-controlled stadiums to bridges designed to withstand cyclones and floods. The company is not lacking in advanced technology, but they’re about to get even more advanced thanks to a new partnership with fellow French company XtreeE. The young startup specializes in large-scale 3D printing, and was formed by a group of digital technology enthusiasts whose goal is to accelerate the technological reinvention of the construction industry.

XtreeE is currently working with Dassault Systémes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, which you’ve likely been hearing a lot about over the past week as SOLIDWORKS World 2017 went on. XtreeE has already completed some pretty impressive 3D printed concrete projects, but by working with the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, they’re gaining access to a tremendous amount of resources including cloud-based design, simulation and manufacturing solutions as well as the mentoring of Dassault Systémes’ experts.


XtreeE’s 3D printed demonstrator pavilion

When we talked with Frédéric Vacher, Head of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, at the conference this week, he told us a bit about what XtreeE has been doing with 3DEXPERIENCE – and it’s encouraging. Apart from working with major corporations like ABB on large-scale 3D printed construction projects, XtreeE has a vision for using 3D printing and 3DEXPERIENCE software to design structures that will better the world – a vision that Dassault Systémes shares.

“These labs are changing things already,” Vacher told us. “3D printed structures could be used in Africa and other areas as a solution…We innovate now as we were not before. The value is working together, we can do it better.”


The XtreeE team

That’s clearly a mindset shared by XtreeE and VINCI Construction, which both stand to benefit significantly from the new partnership. XtreeE will be able to grow and expand more quickly, while VINCI Construction will gain access to XtreeE’s expertise in 3D printing, giving them an edge in the race to lead the construction industry in advanced technology.

“3D printing offers revolutionary potential for the construction sector and VINCI Construction plans to be in the vanguard of the move to introduce it,” said Jérôme Stubler, Chairman of VINCI Construction. “Following the recent creation of a joint venture with the SunPartner company aimed at developing the solar technologies of the future, this partnership with XtreeE is a further illustration of the drive to innovate in construction.”

In addition to collaborating with XtreeE to explore and develop 3D printing solutions for the construction industry, VINCI Construction has also acquired a stake in the company.


VINCI Construction’s bridge over the Saint Etienne River

“This agreement is a new step forward in the expansion of our company,” said Phillipe Morel, Chairman of XtreeE. “We strongly believe that our 3D printing technology will be a central part of the next wave of groundbreaking developments in construction. The partnership with VINCI Construction, a world leader in the sector, will enable us to develop new solutions around the world.”

Based on what XtreeE and VINCI Construction have done already as individual companies, we can’t wait to see what they’ll create together – especially with the help of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab.

Here’s a quick look at XtreeE’s technology:

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3D Printhuset launch Scandinavia's first 3D construction printing conference

Scandinavia’s leading supplier of 3D technology, 3D Printhuset is organising the Northern European region’s first 3D construction printing conference.

The conference will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 28th and feature five 3D construction printing experts sharing their experiences and knowledge. 3D Printhuset has coordinated the show with the assistance of sister company, Larsen & Partners A/S, an international construction consultancy firm. Experts from D-Shape (Italy); Cyber Construction and Eindhoven Technical Universities (both The Netherlands); Lund (Sweden); and Ecole Centrale de Lille (France) will take to the stage to offer insights into 3D technology and construction to an audience made up of Scandinavia building sector players.

The conference will focus on a potential disruption in the industry from a more prevalent application of 3D technology, which allows greater freedom in designs, saves time and can be more eco-friendly. Enrico Dini, the representative of D-Shape taking to the stage next month, has been a champion of 3D printing in construction for over ten years. He has become famous in the field as ‘the man who prints houses’.

“Already when I was in my 40s, I understood that 3D printing could be the way to affordably achieve beauty in architecture and construction, and since then I devoted my life to make it happen,” said Dini. “Within the next decades I imagine that our future urban landscape will be enriched by architectural, algorithmic and topology optimised buildings, perfectly harmonised with the environment due to 3D-printed constructions.”

The potential of 3D technology being fully utilised in the construction sector, has the field experiencing a buzz of vibrancy. Not least because of the greater freedom 3D design technology allows architects, but also because of the reduction in costs and materials that will typically be seen.

“In the building industry we are very focused on how we can increase productivity and reduce the amount of materials used,” said Hans Blinkilde, Business Development Manager at NCC Construction, one of the largest contractors in Scandinavia. “Therefore, there are many good reasons to investigate the possibilities of more automated and less materials consuming technologies. 3D construction printing is one of such technologies that we are following at close hand, and in which we see a large potential.”

In addition to the five European experts offering their visions on 3D construction printing, 3D Printhuset and Larsen & Partners will provide an overview of their 2016, which saw their involvement in over 30 construction printing projects. The Conference will take place on February 28th at the Danish Technological Institute in Copenhagen.

Construction In pictures: Dubai opens world's first 3D printed office

Called the ‘Office of the Future’, the building is located in the Emirates Towers premises

Aarti Nagraj
4 hours ago

The world’s first 3D printing office was opened in Dubai on Monday by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Dubai’s ruler His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Called the ‘Office of the Future’, the building is located in the Emirates Towers premises and will house the temporary office of the Dubai Future Foundation.

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Spread across 250 square metres, the building was constructed using a special mixture of cement and a set of building materials designed and made in the UAE and the United States.

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These materials underwent tests in both China and the United Kingdom to ensure their reliability, official news agency WAM reported.

The office building has been prepared for actual use and 3D printing technologies will offer services such as electricity, water, telecommunications and air-conditioning, official news agency WAM reported.

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The building also incorporates energy efficient measures. Its arc shape was adopted for safety purposes and to ensure the stability of the building, the report added.

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Sheikh Mohammed said: “We announce the opening of the first 3D-printed office in the world, after less than a month of launching the Dubai 3D printing strategy which showcases a modern model of construction.

“This is an experience we present to the world on implementing future technology in our lives, and it represents a new milestone for the UAE as a global leader in strategic achievements.”

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He added: “We see this project as a case study that will benefit regulators as well as research and development centres at the regional and international levels on real application of 3D printing technology. We are documenting this experience and building on it to take advantage of the most important lessons, which will serve as reference points to take this technology to new levels.”

A 3D printer measuring 20 feet high, 120 feet long and 40 feet wide was used to print the building. The printer features an automated robotic arm to implement the process.

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The full model took 17 days to print after which the internal and external designs were developed. The office was installed on site within two days.

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The labour involved in the printing process included one staff to monitor the function of the printer, a group of seven people to install the building components on site, and a team of 10 electricians and specialists to take care of the mechanical and electrical aspects.

Hence the labour cost was “cut by more than 50 per cent” compared to conventional buildings of similar size, WAM reported.

The initiative comes as part of Dubai’s 3D printing strategy which seeks to promote the emirate as a global hub of 3D printing by 2030. The strategy focuses on three main sectors: construction, medical products, and consumer products.

Sheikh Mohammed added: “We implement what we plan, and we pursue actions not theories. The rapidly changing world requires us to accelerate our pace of development, for history does not recognise our plans but our achievements.”

Pictures courtesy: Dubai Media Office on Twitter

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