Exploring the possibilities of large-scale additive manufacture for design and architecture applications

This six-month research project looks into the advantages of our newly acquired large-scale 3D-Printer Weber DX 025 with a build volume of 1600 × 1200 × 1300 mm³.

Prof. Dr. Manuel Kretzer

01.04.23 – 31.09.23

Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik GmbH

The machine works on a process called Fused Granular Fabrication (FGF), which uses granules or pellets as opposed to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), in which a plastic wire (filament) wound on a spool is melted by the printer and applied layer by layer. In FDM printing, the force that can be applied to the filament, or the speed at which the filament is melted, is limited. Printing larger objects can thus quickly take several days or even weeks. Pellet extruders allow a much higher output of material and therefore a massively shorter printing time, which is why they are predestined for printing large objects. Other advantages over filament include material costs that are up to ten times cheaper (approx. 3€/kg pellets vs. approx. 30€/kg filament) and the ability to continuously process material. With FDM printing, the spool has to be changed regularly, and granules can be fed endlessly from large bags. Granules are also easier to transport and store, and there is no risk of the filament breaking during printing.

In addition to the above-mentioned practical advantages of the technology, the flexibility and versatility of the machine are interesting. Nozzles with different diameters not only allow for different printing speeds (a 8 mm nozzle prints up to 8 times faster than a 1 mm nozzle), but also result in a completely new aesthetic since layers remain more than visible. For the field of architecture and construction, the 1:1 printing of mechanical components or facade elements is certainly exciting. Here, not only can a variety of structural properties be printed directly into the components, such as the material being reinforced or applied only where forces also flow, which increases material efficiency, but also new, complex form languages and appearances can be realized.

The research project is roughly divided into three phases and will result in a collection of physical artefacts. Parallel to the exploration of the technological possibilities of the machine, various materials are to be tested and investigated. Based on the knowledge gained during the research semester, future research projects as well as concepts for the integration of the machine into teaching at the Department of Design are to be developed.

ELISAVA – Barcelona School of Design and Engineering

Carlos Sáez Comet

Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Consent to display content from Youtube
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google