Here at 3D Rapid Print, one of the fastest growing 3D Printing companies in the Thames Valley, we like to keep abreast of the latest innovations in 3D printing.

In late May 2019, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore unveiled what a university press release described as “the capability to 3D print an unfurnished bathroom in less than a day.” This had been done by a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing, Sembcorp Design and Construction, and Sembcorp Architects & Engineers, including mechanical, civil and material engineers, and architecture and robotics scientists. (Sembcorp Design and Construction and Sembcorp Architects & Engineers are subsidiaries of self-described “a leading energy, marine and urban development groupSembcorp Industries.)

The researchers proclaimed that this meant that prefabricated bathroom units (PBUs) could be made up to 30% faster and up to 30% lighter than current PBUs, which are usually made via concrete casting. Since 2014, it has been standard practice to use PBUs in apartments that are managed by Singapore’s Housing and Development Board; they are manufactured elsewhere before being installed on site.

The team had printed and outfitted 2 PBUs: a smaller unit that measured 1.6 x 1.5 x 2.8m and took 9 hours to print, and a larger unit that measured 2 x 2.6 x 2.8m and took 12 hours to print. Five days were subsequently spent furnishing the structures with sinks, mirrors, flooring, tiles, showers, piping, drains and a toilet. The units’ walls were printed in a W-lattice shape, enabling pipes and wires to be installed in the empty spaces within the structure, rather than via holes that would have to be drilled. The researchers had been experimenting with concrete mixtures for 3D printing since 2015; the mixture used had to be sufficiently fluid to properly flow; set fast enough for the next layer to be printed onto the previous layer; give a consistent print quality, and give a structure as strong as one made via conventional concrete casting.

At the time of the press release, the larger unit had already passed the relevant tests of “SS 492 : 2001 (2014) Performance requirements for strength and robustness (including methods of test) for partition walls passed the Singaporean Government’s.” (SS is short for Singapore Standards, which refers to standards for industrial activities in Singapore. Coordination of Singaporean industrial standards is done by the Singapore Standards Council and administered by governmental body Enterprise Singapore.) As of late May 2019, it is undergoing fire resistance and water absorption tests, as part of the Singaporean Government’s Building and Construction Authority’s Building Innovation Panel PBU acceptance framework; the team hope that this will be finished by the end of the end of August 2019. The team is also hoping to commercialise the technology via licensing or a spin-off company.

3D printing is an amazing tool. It can grow your small business or start a mini revolution in an industry. Explore what it can do for you when you contact us today.

Disclaimer: Featured image of “Ickes new bathroom. Shower in Sec. Ickes office, new interim bldg. LCCN2016871502” is in the public domain in the United States because it was published in the United States between 1924 and 1977 without a copyright notice. It is nonetheless attributed to the Harris & Ewing collection at the Library of Congress. As far as the Library of Congress is concerned, there are no known copyright restrictions on the use of the image.