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The future of everyday living
EU2016 arts & design programme

3D print scoop!

Concrete printer is coming to FabCity.
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FabCity has a scoop! A 3D concrete printer, manufactured in Italy, will be demonstrated by building company BAM. Chris Jonker, tender manager Engineering and Technology, can’t wait to show the machine to the audience.

The 3D concrete printer, developed by the Italian Enrico Dine, will initially process sand from the Dolomites as this raw material has proven to be successful. ‘But we want to experiment with local sand from the river IJ and the North Sea beach as well’, Jonker says. He also has ideas for working with concrete powder, the ground concrete debris from locally demolished buildings. ‘This has been done before, but we would like to upscale it.’

Production on site

The printer can produce all kinds of shapes and forms, ‘within the limits of two by three by three meters’, Jonker tells. ‘In Italy, they have another printer which can print stuff measuring ten cubic meters. You could actually print a complete house with it, but as it takes too much time, it is not yet viable. Conventional construction is still cheaper.’

During the printing process, an object is built from layers of sand. A binding agent is added to each layer. ‘Where the sand meets the liquid, it turns solid’, Jonker explains. ‘After the printing process, the excess sand is disposed of and can be used again.’ When obsolete, the printed objects also can be pulverised and serve as a base material again, which makes the whole process circular.
The 3D-printer will be placed in a hall, a temporary home base for BAM and FabCity-partner ABN AMRO. ‘It needs to be shielded from the audience, but we will use a transparent kind of curtain, so everyone can observe the process.’ The audience can witness the production of parts for the Landscape House, a collaboration with the Amsterdam Universe Architects, and of elements for the circular pavilion of ABN AMRO. The Landscape House, which will also consist of steel and glass, should be ready in 2017. The ABN AMRO pavilion is currently being built in the centre of the Zuidas; it will serve as a meeting point for everyone who wants to help shape a circular economy.

Complex shapes

Jonker: ‘The printer is particularly suited for manufacturing complex shapes, like the round parts of the Landscape House. If you would make them the conventional way, you would need very complicated molds. If you look at the roof of the new public transport terminal in Arnhem, you would see something that could have perfectly been made by this 3D printer.’