3D printed structural steel connectors

Large-scale 3D metal printing company MX3D produced a series of 3D printed structural connector in duplex steel, designed in collaboration with Japanese architecture and engineering firm Takenaka.

The project aims to show the progress in the production of highly customised and engineered steel connectors using robotic 3D metal printing, also called Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM). Various destructive and non-destructive tests showed that the printed duplex steel connectors are strong and have consistent performance on mechanical and material properties.

The steel connectors were tested extensively, such as tensile tests, fatigue tests, buckling tests. CT scans showed that the interior was sense and solid. In addition, the testing showed that a 4mm thick connector filled with mortar had the same strength as a 8mm thick one, reducing 50% of the required material. The material properties and mechanical testing achieved desired specs and consistency, establishing the relevance of robotic 3D printing to the industry.

Duplex steel is an alloy that is renowned for its good mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. By combining a hollow steel structure with concrete, the concrete delays or even prevents local buckling of steel.

Following the successful fabrication of the optimized and printed structural steel connectors and the strong test results, the partners involved intend to implement the bigger version(s) in an actual building project.

For other projects by MX3D, click here.

Images: MX3D