3D Printing Vs conventional building Material- which is better?

The world is evolving and so is technology. The green movement is the most possible implication of this change and leading advancements are taking place in every industry. 3D is the solution keeping our future in mind. Using reclaimed plastic and wood and turning it into a new age construction and engineering wonder is the correct use of the information and technology-based sectors. While 3D technology was earlier used for small scale functioning and aesthetic prototypes called rapid prototyping, today there is a wider range of material, precision and repeatability of the materials that can be used in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction industry. 

Whereas, the utilisation of conventional building materials remains a dominant force in the construction sector. Conventional building material is the material that has been used traditionally to build, construct and curate buildings and materials. It includes concrete, cement, steel, sand, binding mixes and bricks and blocks. All such material has been procured from the natural resources of the earth and has been utilised by civilisation for far too long. Natural building materials are used in abundance due to their easy availability and safety and long-lasting finished products. These materials have stood over time, during natural calamities and have kept people and structures safe. Therefore they make the major occupant in the architectural and construction industry. 

3d printing and techniques have been evolved and modelled into a wider range of products and materials that it now has been efficiently substituted with the conventional methods and techniques of building and has been successfully commercialised into businesses and made significant profits as well. To name a few achievements of this newly tapped potential, fully 3D printed houses have been made and commercialised with zero carbon emission, made out of natural materials that are sustainable and environmentally friendly. 

Now comes the question of whether 3D technology would be fully and effectively be able to replace the conventional building materials and be a commercially viable option, lets see below to get more answers.



Conventional building materials have been used from ancient times as the primary source for building, construction and even decoration purposes. People used to carve out wood and soil mixed with combining elements to build houses and weaponry. While these materials were easily procured, with the increasing population and the need for civilisation to advance, these natural materials were over utilised and caused their exhaustion and the environmental toll became incomprehensible. Making large scale buildings and industries including the housing sector required large amounts of concrete and naturally occurring materials that impacted the environment and led to toxic substances in the atmosphere. The carbon footprint of these building materials is amassable. The carbon footprint of concrete alone incorporates 8 % of the total carbon emissions. 

Here is the list of the conventional building materials that have been incorporated into the construction industry :


Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. It includes cement, water, crushed gravel and stones and other fine aggregates that enhances the strength of the material. Its carbon footprint is also the highest amongst all the building materials. 


Cement is a natural binder to all the other materials. It is like an adhesive that is applied and set and then solidifies and gives the strength of steel. Utilised to combine gravel and finer substances into the mixture that could include sand and mortar or masonry. It also posits harm to the environment due to the utilisation of earth and soil.


Steel is a material that can bend, molten and be made into various structures that stand tall and strong. Steel manufacturing and procurement produces 3 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Other than its durability it is also a cost-effective substance to build bigger constructions. 


Crude oil is a naturally occurring petroleum product composed of hydrocarbon deposits and other organic materials. A type of fossil fuel, crude oil is refined to produce usable products including gasoline, diesel, and various other forms of petrochemicals. Crude petroleum is used to make tar and used in road construction activities. 


Wood is utilised in almost every process of building and construction. It is a diverse material used in buildings, floorings, its thermal, acoustic, electrical, mechanical, aesthetic, working, etc. properties are very suitable to use for building. It is also causing deforestation and soil erosion. 


Plastic is a cheap and unsustainable building product that doesn’t degrade over time and also lends in possible toxic elements in soil and sea. Its discharge has caused sea and soil pollution and burning plastic releases toxic substances into the air.

While conventional building material impacts the environment considerably, their durability and the ability to keep structures sturdy over time saves a lot of construction costs and human lives. In calamity prone areas like tsunami or earthquakes, the destruction incurred is comprehensive and therefore these materials are time tested options when it comes to housing and industrial sectors. Incorporating them lowers the cost and also provides the opportunity of employment to the labour class. Its usage in industries and the housing sector is the reason science has been able to evolve and give a quality of life to the people. The aesthetic beauty of a natural stone or wood is also incomparable. Some of these materials can be effectively reclaimed like plastic and wood and used in various sectors.



3 Dimensional printing denotes the construction of a 3 Dimensional product using Computer-aided design(CAD) technology for the creation, modification, analysis and optimisation of a design. It provides improved quality and productivity of the material or product manufactured through new-age technology. The product is made by computer control, mixing the materials in layers to make a design. 

The materials incorporated are usually to substitute the conventional building materials to create a sustainable product that is equally if not more productive and efficient.

From reducing the construction cost to making more faster and durable products, construction companies and business ventures are realising the benefits of 3D Printing which is soon to be a 56.4 Million Dollar market by the end of this year.  Creating new and innovative projects leading this industry, the start-up is coming up with products like reclaimed leather or thermoplastic that can create demand and keep the industry an eco-friendly venture. 

3D printing is known to build lightweight materials that are always essential for construction activities and it offers a multitude of design patterns that are difficult to make by hand. Complex geometric, gravity-defying, lightweight, hollow and light materials can be formed through this technology.

Here are some of the advantages of 3D printing


Complex patterns and designs that are reflective of the modern and new age world are one of the most popular things about 3D printing. It can develop complex geometric shapes that would be impossible to mould through the hand. It’s a cost-effective and less time-consuming venture. Producing very complex shapes through computer control and ultra-modern designing inputs. 


The materials that are formed and produced are generally lighter than the conventional building materials like cement and solid bricks. Using lightweight materials in the building makes them reduce a lot of stress on the primary structure and building. 


Agile tooling makes possible the modular design structures that are cost-effective, high-quality methods that tick all the boxes for an accessible satisfaction to customer and market needs. The 3D technology allows the step-by-step assembly of the product, which guarantees enhancement of the design and better quality finished products.


The perks of 3D technology are that it saves in labour and allows for designing and creating the products through foolproof computer control. Rapid prototyping allows for all the processes of manufacturing at minimal time compared to actual construction and design. The prototypes that would take weeks is now produced in 2 or 3 days. Design manufacture and print the design in-house within a few days and solve the hassle of months of taking in the final prototyping. 


Tools are the special parts that are designed to solve problems on the factory floors by manufacturing engineers. They are custom made and can take a lot of funding and time to make. Creating a cost-effective technology that completely removes the errors by 3D printing tools which are more budget and time friendly can make sturdy benefits in manufacturing.


Conventional building materials are the most difficult to manage when it comes to flexibility and moulding into various designs and patterns. 3D printing allows for hydroforming, stamping, injection, moulding and other types of manufacturing as the substances are mixed into liquids that are produced layer by layer and make the most durable, lightweight and cost-effective material.


The 3D printing technology uses sustainable products in its products and manufacture. Reclaimed plastic, use of thermoplastic, algae, bamboo wood, vegetable slurry, jute, coconut, cork, hemp etc are all such examples of the products that can be replaced in the place of conventional products that have a bigger carbon footprint and make a sustainable living. Incorporating green in the buildings and construction industry is not enough and changing the way we build environmentally friendly things and energy-efficient would make a larger and better impact on the people and the planet. 

OVERALL, the applicability of 3D printing in the construction and architectural sector is immense. It is now capable of building an entire eco friendly house and a whole building. It has made possible the laying down of concrete layers in fairly quick and efficient ways. Architecture giants are realising the potential of 3D printing and incorporating them in their commercial zones for better returns with even lower building costs. The designs are unique and durable and also posit the ultra-modern outlook into the whole interior decor and designing sector. 


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