Giant 3D Printer Enables Freeform Concrete
Architects have complained for a long time that concrete forces their ideas into flat and angular shapes, that are unfit to bring their creativity to life. Large-scale 3D printing is now enabling freeform concrete and liberating architects’ true creativity.
3Dealise, the industrial 3D printing and 3D engineering company, and Bruil, the construction company, have combined their strengths to develop technology that brings ‘freedom of design’ and other benefits of 3D printing to large-scale concrete. An example of a 1.6 m tall twisted H-profile can be admired at the GEVEL 2015 trade show this week.
3Dealise uses a giant 3D printer, capable of producing prints up to the size of a phone box (build volume 1800 x 1000 x 700 mm) within 24 hours, to produce moulds for concrete. Moulds can be stacked like Lego to produce larger shapes. The moulds receive a special treatment to enable later separation from the concrete. Bruil then pours concrete into the mould from their range of options including fibre-reinforced concrete. When the concrete has set, the mould can be removed with pressurised water.
3Dealise CEO Roland Stapper commented “This new technology is important for two reasons:
First, it enables a world of new possibilities for architects: irregularly curved surfaces, lightweight half-open mesh or honeycomb structures, elements ornamented like 17th century craftwork, etc. No longer restrained by technical limitations, the architect’s power of imagination is the new frontier.
Second, because this new technology is capable of producing large-scale fibre-reinforced concrete, it can be used for real-world applications, today. There are many stories filled with expectations about 3D printing, but you cannot create a building with expectations. You need technology that works.”