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The basics of 3D printing and the possible effects on construction

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December 28, 2015 |
Dan DeKalb

You weren’t around for the creation of paper or the invention of the wheel.   You also missed the birth of other life-altering creations, things like:

  • The compass
  • The internal combustion engine
  • Penicillin

All these inventions were serious game changers, and you currently reap the benefits of having them in your everyday life. But your time has finally come. Now, you can brag that you were around when something revolutionary graced the planet. You were here when the human brain dreamed up—and finally brought to fruition—something so extremely radical, it reeked of science fiction and maybe even a bit of magic.

You Were Here when the 3D Printer was Born.

Granted, the 3D printer has been living among us for quite awhile, but it’s just now creeping its way out of engineering labs and into the mainstream. So now that it’s officially here, what exactly is 3D printing and how is it going to affect the world of construction?

Answering the first part of that question isn’t so simple. You can go many places to learn a lot of technical information about it and be mind blown. The science can be difficult to absorb. So in layman’s terms, 3D printing is a way of making three dimensional, solid objects from digital files.

According to Atlantic Council’s Strategic Foresight Report, “think of an inkjet printer that goes back over and over the page, adding layers of material on top of each other until the original works are 3D objects.”

So now the second part of the question, how will this magical printer affect construction?   Well, that answer isn’t so simple either.

There are many skeptics that believe it’s just another invention, one that will be important, but not earth shattering. They believe 3D printers will have their place in the world, but they won’t take over.

Well, China unveiled some 3D printed homes this year, along with other large-scale structures. And yes, people all around the world are starting to talk about these printers’ capabilities with hushed words and excited tones, but for builders, it is yet to be seen how it will meld with the construction industry.

Continue reading on the Star Buildings blog

Dan DeKalb | Metal Building Trends

Dan DeKalb began his career with Star Building Systems in 1987 as an estimating intern while finishing his engineering degree at the University of Oklahoma. After graduating the following year, Dan accepted a full time position as a design engineer. Since that time, he has spent his entire professional career with Star holding positions in engineering, estimating, field sales, quality, product development, and drafting while also earning a professional engineering license in 20 states and completing his Master’s Degree in Business Administration.

The summer of 2008 brought new challenges when Dan accepted the position of Director of Product Development for NCI Building Systems overseeing and coordinating product standardization for all the metal building divisions and later overseeing corporate wide detailing initiatives. In 2014, Dan accepted the opportunity as Director of Drafting for Star to focus all of his time to improving production, service, and quality to the Star Builders.

When not at work, Dan spends most of his time with Lori, his wife of 25 years, and their two children. In his remaining time, Dan is a long distance Randonneur cyclist, gardener, and home brewer.

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