Obayashi Corporation, one of Japan’s leading construction companies, has reported the completion of its 3D printed demonstration building, named ‘3dpod’ – a project that started in May 2022. 3dpod is a distinct type of structure that has been approved by the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism under the Building Standards Act, in Japan. This reportedly marks its status as the first-ever building in the country to be constructed using 3D printers with cement-based materials.
The 3D printers were employed for all parts of the ground structure, including walls and floors, with all walls being printed directly on-site. Beyond the structural elements, the building also incorporates essential facilities such as electrical wiring, air conditioning, and water supply, along with insulation for each room.
By embedding cables and piping ducts within these layers, the walls function comparably to those in traditionally constructed buildings. Certain walls in the 3dpod also contain integrated radiant air conditioning equipment.
During construction, Obayashi Corporation set up a 3D printer, on-site. Once the wall printing was completed, the ultra-high-strength fiber-reinforced concrete, known as “Slimcrete”, was poured to form the wall structure. Insulation material was then added to the internal insulation layer of the building. This simultaneous approach to insulation and partial facility construction, in parallel with the 3D printed framework construction, optimized the labor efforts.
Upon the completion of the walls on the first floor, 3D printed rooftop floor pieces were placed on the walls. The floor was then completed by pouring Slimcrete over these pieces.
The 3D printer was subsequently moved to the roof to continue printing. Upon the completion of the roof printing, Slimcrete was poured similarly to the first floor walls – completing the framework. The final steps of the construction included the installation of facilities such as glasswork, painting, electricity, air conditioning, and water supply.
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Author: Edward Wakefield