A 3D Printed Building Rises in Copenhagen, But Is This Ready For Wide Use?

3D printing the first layers of Europe's "first 3D printed building"

3D printing the first layers of Europe's "first 3D printed building"

3D Printhuset has begun extruding a hotel/office in Copenhagen.

The company is performing a demonstration of the concepts of 3D printing within the construction industry, with a view to having construction companies actually make use of the technology on “real” projects. 

The demonstration is to build a rather small office/hotel in an industrial area on the wet side of Copenhagen. How small is this structure? Evidently it will be only 50sm (538 sf), the size of a reasonable hotel room. 

I should point out that the structure is certainly not entirely 3D printed. Basically just the vertical walls will be 3D printed, while horizontal items and all the finishing will be done using conventional techniques. 

Rendering of the completed 3D printed building in Copehagen. It is not very large

Rendering of the completed 3D printed building in Copehagen. It is not very large

At this size the demonstration will not produce a particularly useful building, but what it will do is exercise a number of processes during construction. Consider that the structure would have to obtain necessary permits and clearances from the authorities. The demonstration is not so much showing of a particular 3D printing technology, but rather how a 3D printing technology might be applied in a simulated real-life business situation, and to bring the concept to the attention of the public in Copenhagen and Europe. 

They certainly did so, as the event was rich with media coverage. I suspect that many viewers were unfamiliar with 3D printing and certainly applying it to the construction industry.

3D printing a building does attract media attention

3D printing a building does attract media attention

What isn’t clear from the material provided to us is the economics of this approach. I suspect the process is still more expensive than conventional methods. Consider this: 

At the event the attendees were given the opportunity to see the building site and live 3D printing of the upper part of the foundation, and was given an explanation of how the 3D printer applied is working and how The BOD building will be constructed.

and

When finished at the end of the fall, The BOD will serve as an office hotel.
Completed lower section of Copenhagen's first 3D printed building

Completed lower section of Copenhagen's first 3D printed building

So it will take many weeks to erect this rather small structure. Time is money, so the costs of producing this demonstration are likely relatively high when compared to normal approaches. 

Construction companies are certainly subject to good financial management, as they must bid on jobs to clients, who inevitably select the lower bids. Until that happens, the use of 3D printed building technology will probably be a niche activity. 

Via 3D Printet Byggeri (Danish)

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

+