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3D Printing: Constructing a High-Rise Building


3D printing technology is evolving beyond printing project plans. While it may not be possible to construct an entire building with a 3D printer quite yet, construction teams are creating laser-accurate building components of any shape and size with pinpoint accuracy. Suffolk Construction manager of virtual design and construction Nick Nigro says that 3D printers translate virtual models into thin, printed layers of plastic or metal (as thin as a piece of copy paper). When these layers are printed on top of each other, an entire object is created.

Another advantage: it’s sustainable, printing only what is needed. Compare this to other forms of manufacturing, in which excess material is carved, cut or melted away from the desired object, leaving unused or wasted material. Nick says that Suffolk is just scratching the surface of this technology; once printing speed and cost are reduced, there’s no telling what we’ll be able to automate. 

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