3D printing in construction takes its next concrete step

The next step in 3D printing has been taken with conventional ready-mix concrete being used in the process.

Danish 3D printer specialist Cobod has joined with Cemex to devise a method of using ready-mix concrete for the 3D printing process. The companies say this would reduce time and money compared with current 3D printing methods and traditional construction.

At present, Cemex said 3D printing usually uses specialised and expensive mortars, whereas its D.fab admixture turns concrete into a malleable material.

The method has been used by homebuilder Power2Build in its construction of Angola’s first 3D-printed concrete house in Luanda (pictured below).

Cobod founder Henrik Lund-Nielsen said: “Cobod began 3D construction printing in 2017, and 3D printed Europe’s first 3D-printed building, where we made the concrete recipe ourselves.

“We had to use much cement to get the material to work, with the consequence that our recipe was not as efficient as we aspired to. However, we continued to look for a solution with ordinary concrete, which is critical for the mass application of our technology. We are more than pleased that Cemex took on the challenge and proud that we cooperated to develop the new solution.”

Ricardo Almeida, Power2Build chief executive, said: “To address the world’s affordable housing needs requires not only a technology that can build faster, but also materials that are as economical as ordinary concrete.

“With this solution, the strength and quality of concrete combined with the speed and automation of 3D printing, we can help solve the affordable housing crisis in Angola and elsewhere.”

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