3D printed construction has been on top of the news the past few years, but we have yet to truly see many real world applications of the process. Last year, Dubai unveiled a completed 3D printed office building, which they say was built in only 19 days, but news has been pretty slow until the world’s first 3D printed bridge was completed recently.
Designed by The Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catolina (IAAC), the world’s first 3D printed pedestrian bridge was unveiled in Alcobendas, Madrid in December of last year. The bridge measures over 39 feet (12m) long and 5.7 feet (1.75m) wide and was constructed out of micro-reinforced concrete. According to ArchDaily, it took around 18 months from the time of conception to fully complete and install the bridge.
The team also faced a major design challenge, as the maximum dimensions the 3D printer could print are 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet by 6.5 feet (2m by 2m by 2m), IAAC academic director Areti Markopoulou told ArchDaily en Espanol. For the green building enthusiasts, the printing process allowed the re-distribution of raw materials, so there was minimal waste.
The announcement of this new bridge left us curious about the developments of another 3D printed bridge in Amsterdam. In October of 2015, MX3D, a 3D printing firm in the Netherlands held their ribbon cutting ceremony for what was supposed to be the world’s first. Since that announcement, their website has yet to be updated and it’s unclear when it will be completed.
It’s that time again to begin Construction Junkie’s annual search for the best construction podcast! Last year, newcomer to the scene ConTechTrio took home the crown for best podcast and they’re continuing to make waves on the platform, with interviews with heavy hitter guests from the world of construction each episode. 2015’s winner was Cesar Abeid’s Construction Industry Podcast, but unfortunately there have not been any new shows released since August of 2015.
read on to nominate your favorite podcast
One of the most challenging issues with modular construction, of any kind, is the sheer size and weight of many of the components that need to be transported and lifted in place once onsite. That presents a specifically tough situation for jobsites that are not easy to get to. Arup, a design, engineering, and consulting team in the United Kingdom, has developed and successfully implemented what they say is the “world’s first modular glass-fiber, reinforced polymer bridge.” You may remember Arup from their testing of a “living wall” scaffolding cover that we wrote about last year.
Snow causes all kinds of travel nightmares and not just on the roads. Snow and ice can cause major airline delays and flight cancellations. Because of these issues (and the large amounts of money to be gained by solving them) several different groups of researchers have been hard at work figuring out ways to reduce and remove snow and ice from pavement without the need for chemicals and snow plows. The first technology to get a full scale test slab installed at an American airport, however, came from Iowa State University professor Halil Ceylan.
The world’s first 3D printed excavator was not the only piece of construction equipment to hold that title at this year’s CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas. LiuGong, an international construction equipment manufacturer founded in China, also unveiled the world’s first vertical lift wheel loader at the event.
In 2015, Milwaukee released their robust smart tool management platform, ONE-KEY. The smartphone and web application allows users to not only keep data of their tools spread across different users and jobsites, but it also offers tool customization and tool tracking, for tools that are enabled with ONE-KEY. Earlier this year, the platform got a major upgrade with the release of added tool security, which allow users to hide tools, lock the trigger or footpad, or completely render the tool useless remotely if lost or stolen.
Read on to find out how you can win a free (4) pack of Milwaukee TICK ($99 Value)
Construction apps are popping up all over the place and it’s getting increasingly difficult to determine which ones are right for you personally or right for your business. The truth is, there probably isn’t one application that will meet all of your needs. Procore, one of the leaders in construction project management software, recognized this issue and decided to do something about it.
Solar roofs are an obviously popular choice for those interested in conserving energy, but traditional panels are extremely clunky and expensive. Tesla and CEO Elon Musk announced last year that they have solved that issue, which the impending release of Tesla Solar Roof, which look like a traditional roof shingle.
3D printing has had to overcome plenty of obstacles, including materials, mobility, weather, and height. Slowly, but surely, technology companies are beginning to overcome these challenges. A 400 square foot house was recently printed in concrete on-site, in less than 24 hours and in freezing temperatures. Other companies are working on perfecting 3D printed steel for pedestrian bridges. Height limitations seem to be the hardest problem to solve, however.
Remote sites have extreme challenges, like finding enough staff to work the jobs and being able to get materials to the site. Large mining operations have turned to self-driving dump trucks, like this 320 Ton mega machine, for a few years now. But, Lockheed Martin, a giant in the world of global security and aerospace, has a different solution for remote sites.
3D printing technology faces major issues when it is required to leave the shelter of a warehouse and step foot on a construction job site. 3D printers are extremely large, heavy, and rely on precise calibration for accuracy. Even the first 3D printed office building in Dubai, which was completed last year, had to actually have its components printed off site and assembled on site. But, Apis Cor, a 3D printing company, believes it has created the technology to print a full structure completely on site.