Raja Dilawar Riaz leads the Structural Engineering Department at NICE-NUST, and under the supervision of Dr. Muhammad Usman, they have successfully developed Pakistan’s first 3D concrete printer.
3D concrete printer
The technology used a mixed design with ingredients similar to conventional concrete but with modified rheological properties to assist in the extrudability, buildability, pumpability, and interlayer bonding of printed specimens.
For this printer, we need to use locally available materials and ensure they have a specific level of workability that allows the printer to force them out of the nozzle and bear their own weight and the weight of subsequent layers.
The construction industry in Pakistan is expected to expand by 92%.
And it will account for 2.53% of the country’s total GDP.
With a current housing shortage of 10 million, expected to increase up to 13 million by 2025, there is immense pressure on the construction industry to increase productivity.
3D concrete printer by NUST
The development of Pakistan’s first 3D concrete printer by NUST students Raja Dilawar Riaz, Usama Majid, Ammar Ali, and Muhammad Faizan, under the mentorship of their advisor Dr. Muhammad Usman, offers an inevitable solution to this challenge.
The indigenous 3D concrete printer has a frame size of 1.2m x 1.2m x 1m and can print a volume of 1m x 1m x 0.5m utilizing its 3-axis movement controlled by servos and gearboxes, a variety of nozzles (with a max size of 3 inches), continuous intake capacity, screw extrusion, and a digital control system.
The prototype of an inexpensive concrete printer has been developed for large-scale construction applications.
Which is capable of printing various-shaped architectural and structural components
The printer operates by creating a 3D CAD model on computer software and slicing it as per the required specifications.
The mach3 controller reads the G-Code file and extrudes the layer of concrete, making the printing process straightforward.
And then, The printer was first showcased under the theme of “Low-Cost Innovative Housing Technology” at the First International Housing & Property Expo 2022, Islamabad, organized by the Federal Ministry of Housing and Works, Government of Pakistan.
Development of Concrete Printer
The development of this concrete printer involved a designed concept developed by few of the literature available and enhancing the output in terms of cost-effectiveness and local availability of resources.
Moreover, According to NUST:
The team undertook an interdisciplinary venture to complete the development process, which was completed in the summer of 2022.
The development of this printer was a challenging task that required multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise, which the team acquired during its course of research and development.
Additionally, The team delved into various types of research related to civil, mechanical, and electrical engineering and developed the most efficient solutions.
In addition to its potential to revolutionize the construction industry in Pakistan, this printer has widespread potential for sustainable construction and modern research.
Moreover, Its development has opened up new avenues for further exploration and advancement in the field.
- Design Flexibility
- Topological Optimization
- Increased Productivity
- Reduced labor effort
- Greater research potential
- Highly precise deposition
- High-end technology-based jobs
- Multifunctionality of structural/architectural elements
- Cost-effective mass housing solution
- Energy efficient
- Promising methodology & output
- Safer construction work
- The balance between beauty, form & function