India’s first 3D printed post office unveiled in Bengaluru
Bengaluru witnessed the inauguration of India’s first 3D printed public building – the Cambridge Layout post office – on Friday. The single-story building, now operational, covers an area of 1021 sq. ft. Construction by 3D printing was done on-site (not prefabricated) in only 43 days, instead of the 6-8 months it would’ve taken otherwise. Likewise, at INR 2,300,000 (~US$27,500), the construction cost was also 30-40% lower than it would be with standard techniques.
The project was executed by Indian construction giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) with technical guidance from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras. The process utilized a BOD2, the fastest and most widely used construction 3D printer on the market with a print speed of up to 1 meter/3 feet per second. As the photos show, it consists of a modular frame (aka gantry) which was setup on site and configured specifically to the project's area. Uniquely, the BOD2 is capable of using real (quick-drying) concrete, instead of only ready-mix mortars, which are not only weaker but 5-10 times more expensive. In this case, locally sourced concrete was poured layer by layer (much like in a desktop 3D printer) to create jointless curved walls consisting of three vertical layers – a reinforced concrete layer between two non-reinforced ones.
A resident of the neighborhood has posted pictures and videos of the construction in progress on X (fka Twitter), reporting that noise levels were at a “bare minimum”.
Experimental projects like this are testing the purported advantages of 3D printing in construction – speed, cost, flexibility in design, easier and more efficient construction in difficult terrains – while also exploring the range of potential applications. Only last year the Indian Army tested 3D printed bunkers and other shelters in Himalayan and desert border regions, finding them to be extremely well-suited to the task.