Modern 3D printing techniques that are being considered to build cost-effective housing quickly could also end up revolutionizing the entire construction industry. Researchers are developing ways to recycle a wide variety of materials and use them for 3D printed structures. As new materials and building strategies are developed, it’s also expected that the costs of 3D printed structures of all types will be reduced significantly. Since the original intent of 3D printing advocates was to alleviate the world’s housing shortage, finding a way to print a truly affordable and livable home was the first goal. A New York project to save a historic Fifth Avenue building was successful, in part, because 3D printing was used to replicate historic elements that could not practically be reproduced in any other way. Again, the speed of 3D printing is another advantage when restoring structures, as most elements can be printed within hours, not weeks or months. Adapting new building strategies, like 3D printing, will make it possible to construct not only buildings but also infrastructure like bridges and roadways in ways we have yet to imagine.
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