We have seen many 3D printed houses and structures using concrete and – to be honest – a little bit. Making large squares out of concrete is not difficult and we are sure that there are some advantages, it is not irresistible. [Andy Coward] Apparently feeling the same way and ready to find ways to offer unique benefits in creating 3D printing structures. Result: A beam that is difficult to make with conventional techniques but easy to make with a printer. The advantage is that it uses 78% less concrete than a conventional beam with the same properties.
The bottom line is that in a typical beam, most of the concrete does not carry a significant load. It’s just there because you need some concrete on one side of the beam and then some more on the other. At the center, surprisingly little concrete actually supports some. The new beam takes advantage of this, including a steel reinforcement at a strategic point. Nevertheless, it uses 70% less steel than a normal reinforced beam.
There are many benefits to reducing material. These include low transportation costs and low carbon emissions. The beams have a built-in vacuum that can allow for services such as electrical and water. You can see a good picture of how it all goes together on the Minimas website. Removing unnecessary material is rarely a new strategy, of course. We often see this in metallic 3D printing.