The upcoming HDB estates at Bidadari and Tengah will be having some of its landscape furniture and architectural features being printed by a 3D printer. This is the first time that the government is utilizing 3D printing for building the smaller features within a HDB estate.
Currently, the HDB Centre of Building Research is where the authority kept the 3D printer and has its concrete printing done. The printer is able to produce components that is up to 3.8m high and measures 9m by 3.5m. This printer is by far, the biggest 3D concrete printer in the entire South-East Asia. The total price of the printer and its installation expenses cost up to $900k.
At the moment, HDB is only printing the architectural features or landscape fittings such as the benches and pavilions in the communal areas. However, the authority is hoping that 3D concrete printing technology, could in the long run, be able to print high-rise HDB buildings. Studies and testings are still ongoing to see if the 3D printed buildings will be able to sustain in our climate.
There are several advantages of using 3D printing for housing and these include time and cost saving. With 3D printing, shorter time and lesser labour-intensive construction are required. Thus, lesser cost are involved as well. For instance, the 3D printer took approximately 13hours to print out a room with dimensions, 3.6m by 2.75m by 2.75 m. After printing out the structure, steel reinforcement bars, windows and door are manually fitted into it and the whole process took approximately 6 days to be completed. However, if a similar structure were to be constructed manually through precast production, this could take more than two months to be done.
3D concrete printing also allows the designers and architects to have more flexibility in their designs which they might not be able to achieve via the conventional method. The conventional method is subject to more restrictions as they rely a lot on manual labour.
3D printing for buildings is rather common in countries such as Denmark and China, however it is still uncommon for 3D concrete printing to be done on buildings that are multi-storeys. This technology is rather new and is still in the researching phase.
You can find out more about 3D printing from the link below