3D printed reinforced beam at Material Xperience 2018!

At Material Xperience, we show you some of the most innovative projects in various sectors. One of these projects is this 3D printed reinforced beam made from sandstone by Ana Anton at ETH Zurich. Want to experience this beam or just learn more about this project? Visit Material Xperience 2018 to see the beam and see Ana Anton’s lecture! Click here for your free ticket.

The 3D Printed Reinforced Beam is part of the ongoing research of Digital Building Technologies at ETH Zurich into 3D printed, structural building components. The two-sided cantilevering beam with a length of 4.5 metres (14.7 feet) is made of sandstone.

The beam was too long to 3D print at once, so it was divided into 7 parts. The components were 3D printed on a large-scale binder-jetting machine, a fabrication method that offers a lot of design freedom. All seven interlocking segments are dimensioned to fit the printer’s maximum volume. Binder-jetting allows for the multiple functionalities such as integration of custom enclosures, for post-tensioning cables and complex joints for assembly.

Because sandstone printed elements can only take compression forces, the structural system is designed so that, after pre-stressing, the printed elements become compression-only. The structural evaluation regards the beam as one structural element, with freedom between its components. Through several design iterations joints that interlock the components have been developed, making the beam one structural element.

The beam will be on display in the Architecture pavilion at Material Xperience, 13-15 March 2018 in Ahoy Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Ana Anton will give a lecture on Wednesday morning 14 March, from 12.30 to 13.00 during the session “The Future of Architecture” at the Material Xperience theatre. For the full lecture programme, click here.

Photos: Ana Anton / Thodoris Kyttas / Ahmed Elshafei