COLUMBUS - Ben DiMarco is a staff researcher in the additive manufacturing group at the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) at Ohio State.   

What You Need To Know

  • OSU recently showed off its new one-of-a-kind 3D printer used for construction 

  • Students in the CDME program get 15 hours of hands-on experience per week 

  • Officials say the technology will be used as a supplement for building materials and will help bridge the gap for the state's housing shortage 

DiMarco said the average age of a construction worker is 48 years old, so a new wave of workforce development is needed and automated construction, or 3D printed concrete, has many applications in the industry.

He said with additive manufacturing, structures can be finished quicker and with less manpower. 

“It’s meant to augment or supplement current building technologies. Right, so we have this deficit of housing and available housing, and if we can automate it and bring more structures to life more quickly, I think that’s going to help bring that deficit down,” he said. 

Ohio State’s CDME is working with Youngstown-based Pantheon3D to accelerate growth in the residential and commercial construction 3D printing industry. 

“They can be involved in the early stages of designing a structure, they can be involved in the middle stages in planning or engineering with civil, mechanical, industrial backgrounds,” DiMarco said. 

This concrete printer is the first in Ohio and one of less than a dozen across the globe. 

A welcome sight to California native Justin Levy, who came to the Buckeye state to learn this evolving technology. 

“I’ve been interested in additive for five, six years now and had my own printers at home, printing out of my parents' kitchen. So it’s just a dream to be able to be here and be able to use industry machines as a first-year student here,” Levy said. 

DiMarco said the CDME program is a great opportunity to supplement coursework with 15 hours a week of hands-on experience.  

He believes with CDME training, his students will be ready to hit the ground running on day one of their first job. 

“When they’re working at our research center, they’re working with real customers with real project dollars and real deadlines," DiMarco said. "And I think that’s important, especially in the academic setting or hey this isn’t for a grade, it’s a real customer. I think that what you can takeaway is you can’t fake real."