PrintShell - Research - Conceptual Structural Design - Department of Structural Engineering
PrintShell is a triangulated free-form shell structure combining 3D printing and architecture. PrintShell is a combination of 160 timber members - all unique - that are connected together by 61 3D printed joints, each of them unique as well. The timber members differ only in their lengths, whereas the joints exhibit a unique combination of angles to accurately follow the given shape of the shell.
“We have designed joints that are both lightweight and strong, and their innovative individual design enables an easy assembly process.”
The use of 3D printing technologies allowed each unique joint to be rapidly produced in a cost-effective way. The PrintShell is parametrically designed and produced, meaning that the same design and production principles could easily adapt to any other geometrical shape containing nodes and members.
The joints are manufactured at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), by the Additive Manufacturing Lab (Addlab), located in Gjøvik (Norway). They are produced by selective laser sintering (SLS) of PA2200 nylon material, which is both strong and flexible. This project marks the beginning of exciting research on the potential of 3D printing technologies in structures and architecture.
NTNU - Addlab is Norway's largest research laboratory for additive manufacturing. Located in Gjøvik, Addlab is investigating both metal- and polymer-printing, and focuses on advanced products, material properties and industrialisation of the additive manufacturing process. In addition to R&D, Addlab is also involved in teaching, and offers workshops for students and industrial companies.
Finalized in 2016.