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The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park [Image: Littlegate Publishing]

The government of Dubai has made it known to the world that they intend to accomplish some grand plans involving 3D printing – and they’ve been steadily delivering on those plans, neatly ticking off one milestone after another. Dubai may very well end up holding the record for the most “world’s first” designations when it comes to 3D printing, as it’s already unveiled the world’s first 3D printed office building and is well on its way to completing the world’s first 3D printed laboratory, which was first announced around the same time that the now-famous office building was opened.

The laboratory, which is being 3D printed onsite at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, is actually composed of four sub-laboratories: the Electronics Lab, the Software Lab, the Mechanical Lab, and the Prototype Lab. There will also be an outdoor launch pad for flight testing drones, with a capacity of 400 square meters. It’s definitely not a small or simple project, yet in the year since the laboratory was announced, it has already made an incredible amount of progress.

That progress in itself should be enough to make the world sit up and take notice. We’ve all seen construction projects that seem to drag on forever, but in a little more than a year’s time, this 3D printed lab has gone from concept to near completion. Last month, CyBe Construction, the contractor in charge of the laboratory’s construction, announced that 3D printing on the building was finished, and last week it was announced that the entire project is 87% completed.

An official visit was made to the laboratory last week by HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which is backing and facilitating the project. Al Tayer was accompanied by several senior DEWA officials, including Abdullah Obaidullah, Executive Vice President of Water & Civil, Jamal Shaheen Al Hammadi, Vice President of Special Projects, and Mohammed Al Shamsi, Vice President of Civil Projects Engineering & Water Maintenance.

[Image: Khaleej Times]

The nearly-completed laboratory is a testament to the speed and efficiency of 3D printing, and should serve as encouragement to those launching similar projects, both within and beyond Dubai. Once the lab is fully completed, it will serve as a center for other advanced technology, particularly drones. While Dubai may have specifically centered its future plans on 3D printing, it certainly isn’t neglecting other technologies, and it’s appropriate that this history-making 3D printed lab should be focused on some of the other disruptive tech changing the world.

Research, development and prototyping of drones will take place at the facility, with the Electronics Lab conducting electrical design and repair services for drones and the Software Lab developing educational solutions and running tests on avionic systems, flight controls, and electric power units. Areas of focus include operating systems, mobile computing, cloud computing, virtualization, distribution systems, and software engineering. The Mechanical Lab will be dedicated especially to materials research, and the outdoor flight testing facility will serve as a launch and landing pad set up with sensors as well as its own power-water and data line.

One of the intriguing things about Dubai’s progress is that every 3D printing milestone leads to additional progress. None of these buildings have been 3D printed just for the sake of being 3D printed; they’ve each served as centers for important research into the technology of the future. The 3D printed office building, for example, serves as the temporary headquarters of the Dubai Future Foundation, which recently launched the third cycle of the Dubai Future Accelerators program. The 3D printed laboratory is appropriately based in the solar park, another center of advanced technology, and will likely bring about a significant amount of progress in the field of drone study and manufacture. We’ll find out just how much advancement we can expect to see very soon, as the facility’s completion is already just around the corner. Discuss in the 3D Printed Laboratory forum at 3DPB.com.

[Sources: Khaleej Times / Construction Week Online]

 

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