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Dubai: 3D-printed building to serve as new landmark

The entrance of a residential community in Dubai features a 3D-printed building that serves as the control center for Nakheel’s Tilal Al Furjan residential complex. The gatehouse, which is fully functional, is a “landmark allowing the public to familiarise itself with 3D-printed buildings”, according to developer Nakheel.

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The gatehouse was built by Printstone3D, a Dubai-based company that specializes in 3D printing technology for construction. The structure has a canopy that is almost three times bigger than the building itself. It also houses a communications hub with CCTV cameras and utility meters, and more than 90 cables and pipes of different functions and sizes in a limited space.

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The CEO of Printstone3D told Khaleej Times that the company mainly focuses on building one-two-story residential buildings. He said that “3D-printing a 120sqm villa or house would take around two weeks. A big one-storey villa can be printed within a month, while a G+1 villa will take up to three months.” He also said that the company is preparing for future demand for high-rise buildings and developing a new generation of printers that can construct buildings up to six to eight stories.

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The gatehouse project was completed in 20 days. “The printing team consisted of three people: The printer operator, mixing machine operator, and labor assistant. 3D printing doesn’t necessitate a large team, helping reduce costs and making the technology more eco-friendly.” The executive said that a building of this size would normally require between 15 and 25 skilled workers if built using traditional methods.

He also said that “the 3D construction printing technology allows for the printing of vertical structures such as walls or fences, and even some elements inside the building itself, such as a kitchen island or other interior details.”

Dubai aims to have 25 percent of its buildings constructed using 3D printing technology by 2030. Trakhees, the regulatory body of the Ports, Customs, and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC), issued the first license for construction using 3D printing technology for buildings in Dubai.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman of the PCFC, said: “Unlike traditional methods that involve pouring concrete layers, 3D printing relies on a robotic arm to directly print layers of cement-based material onto a prepared surface.”

3D printing technology reduces labor costs by up to 80 percent. It also slashes the duration of construction projects by 60 percent.


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