3D Printing Technology in Construction: How Does it Work, Uses & Advantages

Mar 13 2024

Hemali Ben

When considering 3D printing, you probably imagine individuals creating little plastic objects. However, 3D printing has far greater capabilities and is utilised to create a wide range of products and mechanisms. Examples include furniture, cinematic props, prosthetic limbs, medicinal equipment, and even automotive and aerospace parts. But now, with the advent of printable construction materials, 3D printing has gained much popularity as it has replaced physical labour with machines and equipment that build and assemble structures, resulting in a more cost-effective, convenient, and ecologically friendly approach to developing and creating new structures.

In this blog by Brick & Bolt, we'll explain the 3D printing technology in construction, how it works, its uses and advantages, and how it has impacted the ever-expanding construction industry.

What Does 3D Printing Technology in Construction Mean?

3D printing, also known as “Additive Manufacturing”, is a group of technologies that build 3D objects by adding material to form a whole.

Essentially, 3D printers take a design from a computer file and "print" it in sequential layers. This might be as simple as making a chess piece or as sophisticated as rocket engine parts. But in construction, 3D printing occurs when companies or projects layer materials consecutively using computer-controlled procedures to produce three-dimensional shapes. 

In construction, 3D printers can be used to create new structures on-site or manufacture components for subsequent assembly. The printer accepts dimensions from a software program and then constructs the structure on a platform with materials such as cement, plastic, or liquid metals.

The Use of 3D Printing in Construction Industry


The 3D printing structures designed solely for constructing functions are commonly called "Construction 3D Printers”.

A construction 3D printing (C3DP) project usually begins with a 3D digital model of the structure that has to be built. The model is virtually divided into layers. The printing robot or gantry system then deposits each material layer along a predetermined path, tracing the layer outlines and expanding material until the entire slice is complete.

Once one layer is completed, the next layer is built on top of the previous one, and so on, until the entire building is built. This 3D building may be made of concrete, metal, or polymers.

The most prevalent 3D printing technology for construction uses a robotic arm to produce concrete while moving back and forth. Other approaches for 3D printing technology in construction include “Powder Binding”. Powder binding is the solidification of powder layers to form the desired object.

To date, 3D printing has been utilised to create homes, offices, and other constructions. 

Advantages of 3D Printing in Construction


3D construction printing is a young and developing industry. Even in its early stages, this technology has achieved remarkable results.

As such, companies have employed 3D printing to produce offices, houses, and other structures, demonstrating that it can alleviate many disadvantages of traditional construction. Here are a few advantages of 3D printing in construction:

  • Less Wastage

Construction sites normally generate a lot of waste, but 3D printing in the construction industry results in nearly zero waste. 3D printers employ only the materials required to build the structures, reducing construction waste. Construction plans may also contain other waste-reduction measures, such as prefabrication (where a structure is manufactured and built in small sections to quickly assemble on-site).

  • Recycling

Another environmental benefit of 3D printing is the ability to include recycled materials in your designs. 3D printers use materials to form lattice patterns, allowing recycled plastic to be used to build a strong structure. Construction sites can also make use of reusable materials such as recycled concrete, one of the best sustainable construction materials.

  • Design Flexibility

Complex or circular shapes are generally difficult and costly to build. Design options become more versatile when using a 3D printer for construction projects. For e.g. when it comes to complicated shapes, the 3D construction printer can be used to precisely deposit small amounts of concrete where needed, greatly expanding an architect's design options.

  • Fewer Building Errors

A 3D construction printer reduces the frequency of construction faults. Human mistakes are more prone to occur while traditional houses are being built. However, when a house is 3D printed, the 3D printer creates the entire building structure with zero errors, but only as long as the blueprints entered into the 3D printer are correct.

How Does 3D Printing Benefit Construction Companies?

The construction industry can benefit from 3D printing technology in numerous ways, some of which include:

  • Firstly, it enables parts and components to be customized for a specific project, resulting in increased design flexibility and functionality.

  • Secondly, it can drastically reduce waste by only using the material required to build a structure, resulting in cost savings and increased sustainability.

  • Thirdly, it can speed up the construction process by allowing on-site parts and components to be created quickly, resulting in faster project completion.

  • Besides that, 3D printing can improve safety by lowering the amount of harmful tasks employees perform. 

  • Finally, while the initial investment in 3D printing technology may be large, its efficiency and other benefits result in cost savings during the equipment's life. 

Overall, the potential benefits of 3D printing make it a promising technology in the construction industry.


The construction industry has traditionally been one of the world's least technologically advanced, with slow, labour-intensive, and time-consuming procedures. Traditionally, constructing a building involves several stages: design, material procurement, and construction. This procedure was time-consuming and labour-intensive, and the construction industry suffered delays, cost overruns, and safety problems.

However, recent developments in 3D printing in construction have created new opportunities for more rapid, more precise, and environmentally friendly construction processes. Thus, with the adoption of 3D printing technology, the construction sector has potentially revolutionised by drastically lowering the time and manpower required to construct buildings.

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