3D printing is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry and is in the process of replacing many other production methods. Our design team decided to put this idea to the test by looking at which plastics technologies we could replace with large-scale 3D printing.
A children’s lamp with modular sections was designed in response to this challenge. Its different pieces can each be 3D printed, or combined with injection molded standard connections. Each lamp can therefore be individualized per child, whose name or a particular shape to be projected onto the ceiling or towards the floor.
In cooperation with companies currently working on mass customization tools for 3D objects, this could become a child’s first introduction to 3D CAD modelling. The further advantage of 3D printing is the ability to make hundreds of iterations of the same product without having to keep all the parts in stock – all you need is filament and a BigRep.
Mine the Scrap Cube
The construction industry generates a lot of waste though leftover building materials and offcuts. This issue has been addressed with the software “Mine the Scrap”, which is able to process scans of this “waste”, analyse the architect’s design and output construction drawings to satisfy both material and design requirements.
In order to showcase how such a technology would work, laser-cutting leftovers were scanned and the software arranged them into an optimised layout for a twisted cube CAD model. The base object was then 3D printed on a BigRep before the leftover materials were assembled onto it.
In real building projects, the large scale of our 3D printers makes it possible to produce those sections of a building which serve as joining elements for the leftover materials. This would add another layer of sustainable practice into construction methods, as additive manufacturing is a very low waste alternative to standard subtractive methods for manufacturing complex architectural joinery.
Race Car Moulding
We were approached by a team from HTW Berlin Motorsports looking for a partner to 3D print a mold for their race car. We jumped at the opportunity to put our large scale 3D printing technology to the test against lower-tolerance wood and foam molding techniques. Here is how we produced the laminated carbon fiber nose of their race car:
First, a PLA mold was printed with our BigRep ONE. It was then post-processed with a synthetic smoothing and filling compound, followed by a wax-based release agent preparation. Only then could the sheets of carbon fiber be layered onto our printed part and fixed in place using a spray adhesive. In order to complete the part, the entire laminated mold was placed into a vacuum bag ready for resin injection. This process was chosen for its production of lightweight parts while curing temperatures were kept below PLA’s glass transition temperature of 60°C.
The fast turnaround time and low-cost of this 3D printed mold production technique makes it ideal for one-off precision parts as well as high quality prototypes.
Bamboo-style Bathroom Tiles
Small series production capability is often mentioned as one of the benefits of 3D printing. With the BigRep ONE we looked at how this could change the tiling industry.
A unique bamboo-like bathroom tile, incorporating the layered style of the 3D printing process, was designed and subsequently 3D printed with a black PLA. From this object a silicone mold maker produced a negative mold of the tile, which was used to make the final polymer plaster tiles.
Using this technique, designs can be assessed before going into production, can be easily adapted according to customer needs and can even be created in varying colors and materials using the same mold. This opens up the path to mass customization, where even the material properties of the tiles can be adjusted according to their final application. In our case the waterproof polymer plaster was perfect for the wet environment of the bathroom.
Eckwerk Architectural Development
In Berlin’s Holzmarkt, on the Spree river in the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, a new urban village is being developed, going by the name of Eckwerk. In order to introduce this intersection of local community, student life, start-ups and sub-cultures in this multi-purpose building to the community, Kleihues + Kleihues x Graft decided to print a large-scale 3D model with the BigRep ONE.
The glass corridors that run through the design were highlighted in a transparent PLA while the rest of the model was produced in Mauer Grau PLA with removable floor sections. Since architectural studios already use 3D modelling tools such as AutoCAD or Rhino on a daily basis, the 3D .STL files needed to print a scale model were easy to create.
Compared to the labor-intensive methods of traditional architectural model-making, the low-waste, cost and time efficient process of 3D printing final models is the ideal technique for communicating architectural designs to the client.
As an interdisciplinary design studio, Berlin’s NowLab is constantly innovating the way they design and manufacture. Armed with a BigRep ONE, they decided to look into how 3D printing could revolutionize the production of furniture by taking two very different routes to design two unique chairs.
For the “Blackforest Chair” the focus lay on generative design; algorithms were used to digitally create many iterations of the same chair. Production by traditional means would not have been possible due to the complex geometries involved in this new design process.
The “Glacier Stool” exploits another aspect of 3D printing: the ability to create hollow objects. In this case, 3D printed infill structures were incorporated into the design and emphasized by printing in transparent PLA.
Introducing additive manufacturing into the design studio enables designers to get immediate physical and visual feedback on digital designs. The use of eco-friendly BigRep materials mean that this more interactive design process is also a sustainable one.
3D Printing applied to cultural heritage
Sergei Merkurov (26.10.1881 – 8.06.1952), was a prominent Soviet sculptor-monumentalist of Greek-Armenian descent (Wikipedia).In 1930 he created a massive bas-relief sculpture in a typical soviet-style for the Dynamo football stadium in Moscow.
Due to climate and outside display, over time the condition of the sculpture deteriorated.The remainder of the sculpture is planned to be moved to the new Dynamo stadium which is currently under construction (for the World Cup 2018 in Russia).