3D printers redefining construction



  1. Introduction
  2. The evolution of 3D printing in construction
  3. How it works: the future of construction with 3D printing
  4. The areas of 3D printing impact in construction
  5. FAQs and further considerations
  6. Final Thoughts
  7. About us



3D printing in construction, also known as additive manufacturing, is a revolutionary technology that transforms the way buildings and structures are built. In recent years, this technology has been making significant strides, with 3D printing ideas revolutionizing various industries, and construction is no exception.

This innovative technology has the potential to reshape traditional construction methods, offering numerous benefits ranging from cost-effectiveness to sustainability. In this article, we delve into the diverse areas where 3D printing is making a profound impact on the construction sector both today and in the future.


The evolution of 3D printing in construction

How it all started

While the idea of 3D printing in construction industry may seem novel, it has, in fact, been around for a while. Since the first developments in 3D concrete printing in the 1990s, the industry has evolved rapidly, having taken a significant leap forward in less than a decade.


Source: EMERGEN Research (


By tracing the evolution of 3D printing in construction from its nascent stages to its current advancements, we can gain invaluable insights into its growth patterns and anticipate future trends. With the knowledge of key factors that have propelled or hindered the adoption of 3D printing in construction, there’s a possibility to anticipate how these dynamics may shape its future trajectory. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1190s: First Steps
  • Creation of 3D printed concrete technology in 1997 by Joseph Pegna.
  • Development of the first layered extrusion device for concrete.
2000s: Early Development
  • Introduction of 3D printing technology in the construction industry.
  • Initial experiments with small-scale prototypes and models.
2010s: Prototype Developments
  • Development of prototype 3D printed structures to test feasibility.
  • Exploration of printing materials and techniques.
Mid 2010s: First Full-Scale Structures
  • Creating the first full-scale buildings with 3D printing.
Late 2010s: Technology Advancements
  • Significant improvements in printing speed, precision, and scalability.
  • New printing materials optimized for construction.
2010s – Early 2020s: Regulatory Approvals
  • Establishing regulatory standards for 3D printed structures.
Mid 2020s: Emerging Commercial Solutions
  • Increasing adoption of 3D printing technology in construction projects worldwide.
  • Vast availability of turnkey systems and services for construction companies.
  • Ongoing R&D initiatives
Future Outlook
  • Exploring new materials, techniques, and applications.
  • Continued advancements in tech and materials.
  • Expansion of 3D printing capabilities to larger and more complex construction projects.


As observed, 3D printing technology advances at a rapid pace, presenting an expanding spectrum of real-life additive manufacturing examples. Some advancements have demonstrated a 20x productivity gain in 3D printing practices within just 2 years, reaching the capability to fully complete the 3D printing of a house in under 30 hours.

And while the industry has a proven track record of various 3D construction projects, the future is even more exciting.


The future of construction 3D printing: growth predictions

Nowadays, 3D printing has become an increasingly commonplace practice in construction thanks to its remarkable efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and ability to create complex structures with precision and speed.

According to InsightAce Analytic, the Global 3D Printing Construction Market reached $7.60 billion in 2023 and is expected to surge to $296.70 billion by 2031, reflecting a remarkable compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57.56% from 2024 to 2031. Meantime, Polaris Market Research provides even more stunning numbers, predicting the 3D printing construction market growth at a CAGR of 88.3% by 2032.


Source: Polaris Market Research (


Judging from these predictions, there’s a wide horizon of opportunities yet to be untapped. However, they also come with a range of considerations. Let’s delve deeper into them.


Growth catalysts

BIM proliferation

Undoubtedly, the widespread adoption of Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology served as a significant catalyst for 3D construction printing.

BIM, with its ability to create comprehensive digital representations of buildings and infrastructure projects, provided a solid foundation for integrating 3D printing technologies into the construction industry. This allowed for rapid, precise, and cost-effective construction of complex structures, making the combination of BIM and 3D printing an attractive option for manufacturers.


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Post-COVID impact

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of global supply chains. Due to this, many companies were forced to reassess their operational strategies and explore localized manufacturing solutions.

By leveraging 3D printing technology, construction businesses recognized the flexibility it offers, especially the ability to rapidly produce essential components and products without being constrained by traditional manufacturing processes or distant suppliers.

Raising sustainability awareness

The recent years have witnessed a shift towards greater interest in green construction initiatives. Hence, interest in 3D printing as a sustainable construction option has correspondingly increased.

The number of companies planning over 60% of their projects to be green in 2024 grew by 15% compared to 2021. This is a significant change, especially considering that only 5% of all construction projects have been recognized as green since 2000. Coupled with the growing accessibility and cost efficiency of 3D printing, this trend is predicted to further catalyze 3D construction practices.


Green Construction Project Plans. Source: World Green Building Trends Survey

Growing construction demands

As construction projects have become more complex and diverse, there has been an emerging need for innovative solutions that can streamline processes, reduce costs, and minimize waste.

3D printing came as a solution able to align with these demands thanks to its ability to create complex geometries, customize designs, and rapidly prototype structures, to name a few. The wide spectrum of benefits provided by 3D printing makes it a top choice for an increasing number of construction projects.


Core Advantages OF 3D Printing For Construction. Source: BCG (


How it works: the future of construction with 3D printing

3D printing is quite different from traditional construction methods. While traditional construction methods typically involve assembling or carving materials to create structures manually, 3D printing constructs objects layer by layer using computer-controlled machines, enabling rapid prototyping and construction.

The differences of traditional vs 3d printing methods span across various areas, from the process to labor requirement to production scale. Check them out in the table below.

Aspect Traditional Construction Methods 3D Printing
Construction Process Manual assembly/carving Layer-by-layer printing
Labor Requirement Often requires skilled labor Less reliance on manual labor
Time and Effort Can be time-consuming Potentially faster production
Complexity of Geometries Limited by construction skills Capable of intricate designs
Customization Limited High degree of customization
Prototyping Slow and expensive Rapid prototyping possible
Material Usage May produce waste Material-efficient process
Cost Can be high Potential for cost savings
Environmental Impact Variable depending on materials Can be more sustainable
Scale of Production Typically suited to large-scale Suitable for small to medium


3D construction printing involves several project stages. They are the following;


Stage 1: Pre-printing

This stage incorporates:

  • Digital modeling. At this stage, architects and designers create a digital 3D printed house model using CAD software.
  • Exporting. The digital model is then exported from the design software in a format compatible with slicing software.
  • Slicing. Slicing software divides the digital model into thin horizontal layers and generates toolpaths for the 3D printer.
  • Program generation. Based on the sliced model, the slicing software generates machine-readable instructions (G-code) for the 3D printer to follow during the printing process.


Stage 2: The actual 3D printing process

It includes:

  • Layer bonding. As each layer is deposited, it bonds with the previous layer through adhesion and curing processes, resulting in a sturdy and homogeneous structure.
  • Support structures (Optional). Temporary support structures may be printed alongside the main structure to provide stability during printing, removable once the process is complete.
  • Integration of components. During printing, various building components such as plumbing or insulation are seamlessly integrated into the structure as a part of the process for enhanced operational efficiency.
  • Quality control. Throughout the printing process, quality control measures are implemented to ensure accuracy and structural integrity are maintained.


Stage 3: Post-printing

  • Finishing touches. At the post-printing stage, additional refinements such as surface smoothing or decorative elements can be added to enhance the structure’s aesthetics.
  • Assembly (Optional). If the structure consists of multiple printed components, they are assembled together to form the final construction.
  • Testing. Functional testing may be conducted to verify the structural integrity and performance of the printed structure, ensuring it meets design requirements and safety standards.
  • Documentation. Detailed records of the printing process, post-printing activities, and quality assessments are documented for future reference and project documentation.
  • Site installation. Trained personnel oversee the installation of the printed structure at the construction site, ensuring proper alignment and integration with existing infrastructure.

Surely, continuous improvement is a pivotal element of the process. Design iterations, improvement strategies, and ongoing testing ensures that each new 3D construction printing project builds upon the insights gained from the previous ones to enhance the final outcome and meet evolving requirements.




The areas of 3D printing impact in construction

3D printing holds a significant place in the future of construction, impacting multiple aspects of the industry. And while the true scope of this technological disruption is hard to precisely predict, several trends indicate the direct of its major current and future impact.


Impact on operational workflows

The adoption of 3D printing in construction has a transformative impact on the entire project lifecycle, including but not limited to these aspects:

  • Eliminating the need for complex formwork and scaffolding. A game-changer is the ability to directly fabricate structures layer by layer.
  • Empowering design freedom and mass customization of any complexity. Even the most intricate and custom designs can be achieved, unlike with traditional methods constrained by standard molds or formwork.
    Facilitating real-time adjustments to design plans. Rapid prototyping of building components becomes easy, which enhances collaboration and coordination between project stakeholders.
  • Fueling seamless operational workflows. The combination of 3D printing methods and the integration of digital technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and automated construction monitoring systems, leads to next-level efficiency.
  • Reducing construction-related health and safety risks. Automated tasks, minimized exposure to hazardous materials, and prefabricated components off-site contribute to a safer work environment at construction sites.


Impact in action: top examples

Ambitious strategy for 3D-printed Japanese houses

Serendix, a Japanese construction company, revolutionizes its operational efficiency with concrete 3D printing and sets ambitious plans in this direction. With the current fleet of five 3D printers, each capable of producing 50 homes per year, Serendix intends to scale up to 12 printers, enabling an annual output of 850 houses.

  • Size: 107.64 sq. ft.
  • Construction time: 24 hours
  • Construction cost: $25,500
  • Housing cost: $37,600



Speedfast delivery of an earthquake-proof 3D-printed mansion

Likewise, another record-winning construction project in China proved high operational efficiency of 3D printing methods, with a large-scale mansion being build within 45 days using only one 3D printer.

  • Location: Tongzhou, China
  • Size: 4.305.56 sq. ft.
  • Construction time: 45 working days
  • Durability: 8.0 Richter scale



Economic impact

The economic impact of 3D printing in construction is substantial and multifaceted, ranging from potential cost savings and higher revenue generation for industry players to a revamped construction job market and propelled overall industry growth.

Despite initial investment costs, 3D printing offers long-term cost savings over traditional construction methods. These advantages are a result of the following:

  • 3D printing reduces labor costs by automating certain construction tasks, resulting in fewer required workers and lower wages.
  • Streamlined construction project completion times achieved with 3D printing lead to reduced overall project costs, thereby increasing ROI.
  • The ability to fabricate building components on-site can further reduce transportation costs and logistics expenses.
  • Minimized material waste during the 3D printing process leads to cost savings in material procurement and disposal.
  • 3D printing eliminates the need for expensive imports thanks to the ability to produce customized components on-site.


Impact in action: top examples

Proven project efficiency for the world’s first 3D-printed office project

As a result of all this impact areas, 3D printing demonstrated stunning results in real-life scenarios. For example, Dubai 3D construction project ultimately reduced labor costs by 50% to 80% and construction waste by 30% to 60%. On top of that, the project boasted up to 50% savings in labor costs, requiring only 18 on-site workers.

  • Location: Dubai, UAE
  • Size: 2.600 sq. ft.
  • Construction time: 17 working days
  • Construction cost: $140,000



Fast track for the world’s largest 3D printing building in UAE

Dubai also boasts the world’s largest 3D printing building, constructed at a cost 2.5 times lower than expected for a project of this size, and involving half the number of workers required for a traditional construction project.

  • Location: Dubai, UAE
  • Size: 6,890 sq. ft.
  • Construction cost: $272,264
  • Construction team: 15 workers



Record-breaking construction project in Oman

Another record-breaking concrete 3D printing project involved the construction of three 3D-printed houses in Oman, completed in just 8 days. The total 3D printed house cost for the concrete during the construction amounted to only 3,600 USD.

  • Location: Duqm, Oman
  • Construction time: 8 days in total



Envisioning the industry’s future, 3D printing has the capacity to make construction projects even more efficient and cost-effective, spurring economic development in local communities and regions.


Social impact

3D printing is expected to be a game-changer in addressing one of the major world challenges: the housing crisis, which is anticipated to impact 1.6 billion people by 2025.

Unlike conventional construction methods, large-scale 3D printers are unmatched in their ability to fabricate complex structures in a fraction of the time, at low cost, and utilizing locally available materials. Therefore, they are believed to empower safe and sustainable housing solutions to underserved communities, particularly in developing regions and areas affected by natural disasters.


Impact in action: top examples

The US 3D-printed housing for the homeless

Several such “projects of the future” have already been realized in real life.

For example, Community First! Village project in Texas features a 3D printed 500 sq.-ft. ‘Welcome Center’ and three homes for community residents who were affected by chronic homelessness.

Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 400 sq. ft.
Construction time: Less than 24 hours
Construction cost: $4,000 per housing unit



Rebuilding the war-affected zones in Ukraine with 3D printing

3D printing technology was also used to rebuild a school in a war zone in Ukraine, which became the first 3D-printed education center in Europe.

  • Location: Lviv, Ukraine
  • Size: 3,983 sq.ft.
  • Construction time: 40 hours



Fire-resistant houses as a response to the Carr Fire disaster in California

Another inspiring project was the local initiative is dedicated to rebuilding the housing area affected by the fire with 3D-printed cement, fire-resistant homes estimated to be 11% cheaper compared to a traditional house.

  • Location: Redding, California, US
  • Size: 1,194.79 sq. ft.
  • Construction time: Less than 24 hours
  • Construction cost: 11% cost savings



Apart from being a global disaster response solution, 3D-printed housing can be a game-changer in terms of affordability. According to The World Economic Forum calculations, 3D-printed houses can cost up to 45% less than those built with traditional methods, resulting in a potential cost of as low as $4,000.


Environmental impact

Construction projects are notorious for generating substantial amounts of waste, with statistically 30% of building materials ending up unused.

3D printing in construction holds significant promise for positively impacting this area. In the near future, this can be achieved in the following ways:

  • Minimized material waste through precise additive manufacturing techniques.
  • Optimized overall energy consumption during the construction process thanks to precise deposition.
  • Mitigated environmental impact associated with mining, logging, and other resource extraction activities.
  • Reduced depletion of natural resources thanks to eco-friendly materials like recycled plastics and sustainable concrete alternatives.
  • Decreased transportation-related emissions associated with the delivery of prefabricated materials, since 3D printing enables on-site fabrication.
  • Further reducing the carbon footprint of construction projects.


Impact in action: top examples

Considering all the above mentioned factors, industry experts predict that by 2050 3D printing could save up to 90% of the raw materials required for manufacturing, thereby reducing CO₂ emissions by over 60%.


3D-printed sustainable house in Italy

A perfect example of that is the sustainable housing project carried out in Italy with the help of 3D printing technology using the raw earth and clay as construction materials, creating unique design of a 3D printed house inside and outside alike.

  • Location: Ravenna, Italy
  • Size: 2,109.9 ft³
  • Construction time: 200 hours
  • Avg. consumption: less than 6 kW



3D printing construction project using biodegradable materials

  • Location: Massa Lombardo, Italy
  • Size: 322 sq. ft.



FAQs and further considerations

Which 3D printing tools are involved in construction?

3D printing tools for construction include large-scale 3D printers capable of fabricating building components, specialized software for designing and simulating construction projects, and robotic arms equipped with extrusion systems for on-site printing. Additionally, construction-grade materials such as concrete or clay are utilized, along with safety equipment and post-processing tools for finishing printed parts.


What material do 3D printers use for construction?

Materials used in 3D printing construction include specialized concrete or cement-based mixtures optimized for extrusion, along with additives for enhanced strength and durability. Some also utilize clay, polymer composites, sand, or recycled materials to create sustainable and structurally sound building components.


How much are 3D printers for construction projects?

3D printer costs for construction projects may vary depending on factors such as size, capabilities, and technology. Generally, prices can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars for industrial-grade machines.


How much does a 3D printed house cost?

While the cost may depend on various factors, including size, design complexity, materials choice, labor costs, and location, 3D-printed house cost estimates can be as low as $10,000 to $20,000 in some cases, particularly for smaller structures in developing countries. Meantime, larger and more complex projects can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.


Final Thoughts

3D construction printing has already proven to revolutionize traditional practices, demonstrating remarkable improvements in construction time, cost, and efficiency as well as providing the opportunity for sustainable building methods.

As 3D construction printing advances, ideas for 3D printing become more complex and diverse each year, promising ground-breaking developments ahead.

If you’re planning a construction project that involves 3D printing, feel free to contact the ORIGIN team for BIM services and further assistance.


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