3D Printing Produces Cement Architecture Structure
March 9, 2015

3D Printing Produces Cement Architecture Structure

ROCK HILL, SC – Output using 3D printing, "Bloom," a spectacular  architectural-scale structure created at UC Berkeley using 3D Systems’ ColorJet printing technology, has been unveiled.

The work of Associate Professor of Architecture Ronald Rael and his graduate student team, the project was presented at the fifth annual Berkeley Circus.

Measuring approximately 12 feet wide x 12 feet deep x 9 feet high, this groundbreaking architectural work is the largest and most precise 3D-printed polymer structure to date. Brought to life by 3DS’s ProJet x60 printers, "Bloom" demonstrates how artists, architects and engineers increasingly rely on 3D printing technology to design and produce complex structures with uncompromised speed, cost, accuracy and creative freedom.

"3D printing is emerging as a revolutionary tool in fine art, design and construction," said Cathy Lewis, chief marketing officer at 3DS. "These tools empower everyone to conceive and create any geometry, no matter how complex. 'Bloom' is an inspiring example of the boundless creative and commercial possibilities that these technologies bring."

"Bloom" is a freestanding, organically shaped room built from 840 mass-customized blocks, all of which were 3D printed on the 3DS ProJet x60 using a cement polymer developed by Rael. Because the ProJet x60 series creates incredibly accurate, full-color parts like no other 3D printer can, it allowed the team members to quickly transform their ideas into physical parts. Rael and his collaborators fabricated each unique numbered block using 11 ProJet x60s, and then assembled them by hand. Each block allows varying amounts of light to pass through the wall, creating a dynamic visual effect that interacts with floral patterns on the structure.

"While there are a handful of people currently experimenting with printing 3D architecture, only a few are looking at 3D printing with cement-based materials and all are extruding wet cement through a nozzle to produce rough panels," said Rael. "We are mixing polymers with cement and fibers to produce very strong, lightweight, high-resolution parts on readily available equipment. This project is the genesis of a realistic, marketable process with the potential to transform the way we think about building a structure."

3DS offers a variety of 3D technology that generates new possibilities for architectural planning, visualization and presentation. Using powerful tools like ColorJet printing, desktop drafting on the CubePro and Sense3D scanning, architects and engineers can communicate their visions and go beyond the blueprint.