Tech Tools: 3D Printing


When you’re out on the tools, you encounter new developments all the time but, usually, the snazziest thing you’re likely to see is a laser level. Out there in the big world, however, there is a whole lot going on in the field of construction and it’s all about to become a lot more readily available – meaning your average tradesman is going to get a whole lot more toys.

One of the most exciting and revolutionary new pieced of technology already making waves is 3D printing. This amazing stuff has been responsible for new limbs for amputees, weapons and even rocket parts for NASA, but what does it mean for the construction industry?

Well, to be frank, it has the potential to make an impact on pretty much every aspect of the construction industry, streamlining productions across electrical, building and even plumbing. Not only could 3D printing mean quicker accessibility to materials via suppliers (because, with a 3D printer of their own, a supplier could create materials to order), but it could also mean that pre-fabricated buildings (either the ones clients will live or work in or for temporary buildings like site sheds) are part of the construction landscape going forward.

Since the early 21st century, 3D printing has been used to fabricate entire buildings, including all the plumbing and electrical, in one streamlined process. If this trend continues to the point where the technology becomes the norm, it could mean that tradies act more like project managers or quality controllers than the current way we work, using our smarts in conjunction with physical labour.

In the short term, though, it seems more likely that 3D printers will continue to be used in places where it is difficult to import materials, like developing countries or in space, and to fabricate custom materials, meaning it’s pretty certain that regular tradies will at least interact with 3D printed materials on a semi regular basis in the very near future.

Have you ever used 3D printed materials? How do you think they could improve processes tradies use day to day? Let us know your thoughts on this or any other Tech Tools post over on our trusty Facebook page.