MIT Debuts 3D Printer for Buildings
Since their inception, 3D printers have been used to recreate everything from household objects to prosthetic limbs. Recently, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a large enough 3D printer to build the basic structure of a building in less than fourteen hours.
MIT researchers named their prototype the Digital Construction Platform. The device is a dome-like structure, standing 12 feet tall and 50 feet wide, with robotic arms for reach and dexterity. Welding systems, spray heads, and other tools can be attached to the smaller arm. Researchers believe the device can be used in developing nations and disaster relief areas to quickly rebuild shelter for those in need.
Ideally, this technology could enable faster, more affordable building construction. Steven Keating, MIT researcher, stated, “with this process, we can replace one of the key parts of making a building, right now. It could be integrated into a building site tomorrow.”
Despite the researchers’ excitement, the long-term vision for this system will take as five to ten years to implement. The 3D printing industry has grown exponentially in recent years as scientists improve 3D printing capabilities. This 3D printing construction technology could be incredibly valuable and sustainable for fast-paced reconstruction efforts around the world.