A team at the Loughborough University has been working on a 3D printing project for printing full scale building components in concrete and on-site to any design. Due to this new technique, architects now have a lot more creative freedom in designing and realizing a conventional concrete form building. The 3D Concrete Printing (3DCP) project was funded by EPSRC through the Innovative Manufacturing and Construction Research Centre at the university.
Instead of the conventional flat-layered technique, the 3DCP team applied a curved-layered printing technique to achieve smoother and stronger surfaces. Currently the team is designing a 7-axis robotic arm to replace the 3-axis arm they are using now to maximize the printing quality, speed and size. The team is very confident that there is a big future for his new construction technology. The material used for the prototypes was specifically developed for the 3DCP process and the researchers demonstrated that the strength of the printed material was approximately 95% of the strength of the conventional cast equivalent. Also, this new building technique reduces waste and CO2 emissions compared to a conventional concrete form building.