You name it, a 3D printer can pretty much build it. Pizzas, shoes, guns, prosthetic paws, the list goes on.
Not a place to do things by halves, Dubai is planning to show what it, too, can do with a 3D printer, recently unveiling plans to knock out an entire office building and the gear to go inside it.
The ambitious project has been cooked up by the United Arab Emirates National Innovation Committee as part of the UAE's long-term goal to position itself as a world leader in technology and architecture.
While 3D printers have already been used to create frames for houses, the team behind the Dubai project is keen to go the whole hog and print the office furniture, too. In fact, it'd probably print the workers if it could. But it can't (yet).
According to 3dprint.com, the 2,000-square-feet building will be constructed in the center of Dubai using a 20-foot-tall 3D printer. The machine will create the parts at the actual site, as opposed to having them printed elsewhere and shipped in.
Several companies are involved in the project, among them Shanghai-based WinSun Global, which gained attention last year when it unveiled a massive 3D printer capable of creating frames for houses in super-quick time.
With the Dubai project also noted for its speed -- construction is expected to take just a few weeks -- it seems likely that WinSun is using the same machine as it used for its printed houses in China.
The company creates the exterior of the building with a mix of cement and construction waste, layer by layer, "a process much like how a baker might ice a cake," the company says on its website.
The printed concrete is treated with special hardeners to ensure that each layer is able to support the next one. The parts are then joined together to create the building. Fiber reinforced plastic and glass fiber reinforced gypsum will also be used in the building's construction.
Dubai's first ever 3D-printed office building will be used for a variety of purposes, including, rather aptly, to house an exhibition about 3D printing.