Sky's the Limit

Could Cazza Build the World’s First 3D Printed Skyscraper in Dubai?

Cazza

Cazza is a Dubai-based start-up which has revealed an ambitious plan to use “crane printing” to build the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper.

By 2030, 25 per cent of buildings in Dubai will be 3D printed, claimed Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Emir of Dubai during the 2016 launch of the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy. It appears he’s keeping his word.

Cazza is a construction technology start-up founded by 19-year-old Californian entrepreneur Chris Kelsey, and based in Dubai. In collaboration with the Dubai government, Cazza intends to use a process it calls “crane printing” to create the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper.

The company has developed an array of custom technology to print high-rise structures. In essence, the Cazza will use cranes with printer units attached, that are designed for structures over 80 meters.

CEO of Cazza, Chris Kelsey, said:

“When we first thought of implementing 3D printing technologies, we were mostly thinking of houses and low-rise buildings. Developers kept asking us if it was possible to build a 3D printed skyscraper. This led us to begin researching how we could adapt the technologies for taller structures.”

Amazingly, the company found its printing process capable of building all of the major structural components required for a skyscraper. Some manual labor is still required, but it’s believed that the process will save a lot of time.

Kelsey adds: “Through our technologies, we will be able to build architecturally complex buildings at never-before seen speeds. It is all about economies of scale where the initial high technology costs will reduce as we enter the mass-production phase.”

Cazza 3d printing
Image: Burj Khalifa

When Can We Expect to See Cazza’s Building of the Future?

It is unknown when the 3D printed skyscraper will be built. Similarly, we do not know how tall the building will be either.

However, there are many benefits of incorporating 3D printing into builds. Fernando De Los Rios, chief operating officer at Cazza, explains:

“The crane printing system can be easily adopted with existing cranes which means we don’t have to build cranes from scratch. We are adding new features to make it adaptable to high wind speeds along with the use of our layer smoothing system that creates completely flat surfaces. You won’t know its 3D printed.”

Dubai has been pushing the adoption of 3D printing technologies hard lately. In May 2016, the city inaugurated the “Office of the Future”, a fully 3D printed work space. As a fully operational case study, it demonstrated a 50 per cent reduction in labor costs.

It’s a noble goal, to 3D print a quarter of your city’s buildings. And if anywhere can do it, the home of flighty construction projects like The Palm, Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Opera is the place.

However, one reservation we have is that Cazza is, at this point, unproven. But, it has received hefty investment and buyout offers. In addition, the company has an official tie-up with the Dubai government to aid 3D printing in the city.

Could tourists flock to the world’s first 3D printed skyscraper any time soon, or is this a publicity stunt to attract attention to the city? Watch this space.

Source: Construction Week Online