3D Printing Enables New Construction Design Applications at Kohler and Versarien
While construction 3D printing remains a niche industry, the technology is increasingly being applied to realize new architectural constructions and design concepts. The most recent advances in this area come from the Advanced Engineering Materials group Versarian and manufacturing company Kohler.
Versarien leveraged 3D printing to make its “Lunar” lifestyle pods with its own graphene-enhanced cement, Cementene, while Kohler partnered with the artist Daniel Arsham to design and create a new “functional art” sink from 3D printed vitreous china and hand cast brass.
Versarien Lunar Lifestyle Mod
Versarien’s 3D-printed lunar lifestyle capsule is the first product made with the company’s developed graphene-enhanced cement, Cementene. The company claims that incorporating graphene into concrete can not only significantly strengthen ordinary concrete but can also enable buildings to be completed more quickly in order to reduce the costs and carbon footprint of construction processes.
“This launch represents the first application of a technology that has the potential to change the way the world views building construction and renovation,” said Neill Ricketts, CEO of Versarien. “Lunar is not only convenient for homeowners, it’s also a beacon of hope for those who don’t have access to basic amenities like shelter.”
Lunar modules are designed with durability and versatility in mind and can be used as an office, studio, gym or hobby room. The pods were designed as a proof of concept for Versarien’s 3D printable Cementene material and demonstrate the superior levels of detail, flexibility and precision achievable by 3D printing technology.
“Our 3D printed concrete can build modules for those who are suffering, while creating a circular economy for homes, giving individuals in more developed countries the ability to cut and change and ‘lift’ and ‘move’ their homes,” Ricketts added. “Versarien is behind this innovation and we are excited to see the impact this technology can have on the world around us.”
Spanning 3.5 x 2.2 x 2.3 (W, D, H), the Lunar modules contain LED lighting, an integrated digitally controlled heating system, carbon neutral flooring and doors and windows full height triple glazing.
Lunar pods are priced at just under £30,000, and those who want to get their hands on one can now put down a deposit. According to the website, only 50 building slots are currently available.
Kohler’s 3D printed sink
Working with Arsham, Kohler designed a limited-edition 3D-printed sink called the Rock.01 that was part of the artist’s “Stone Flow” custom installation that debuted at Design Miami fair.
Inspired by organic shapes found in nature, the Stone Flow installation features a series of stone-like objects, including the Rock.01 sink. The sink was created using a combination of 3D-printed vitreous china and hand-poured brass to create a “high functional art” form that combines Kohler’s 148-year manufacturing heritage and modern technologies.
Vitreous china is an enamel coating that is applied to ceramics, especially porcelain, after it has been fired. Kohler’s vitreous china 3D printing method is particularly innovative and has made intricate sink design possible where traditional methods have fallen short.
Each 3D printed sink is totally unique and comes with a certificate of authenticity and edition number. A small-batch edition of just 99 sinks is produced to order by a team of artisans at Kohler’s global headquarters in Kohler, Wisconsin.
New AM construction apps
In addition to being deployed for the fabrication of homes, schools, and other commercial buildings, 3D printing has been leveraged for more specialized applications in construction.
For example, a construction 3D printing company Advanced smart building technology (AICT) recently unveiled the world’s first 3D printed public park in Shenzen, China, while Azure Printed Houses uses recycled plastic to 3D print backyard studio apartments, accessory living units and, more recently, residential developments.
Meanwhile, the construction 3D printing company WASP pioneered the development of sustainable 3D-printed architectures, using local soil and natural materials to create its Gaia eco-house and TECLA eco-housing model. Always on the note of sustainable architecture, the design studio breath studio recently developed a new method of 3D printing with mushrooms to 3D print a living architectural column two meters high.
Elsewhere, additive manufacturing has also been deployed to manufacture a parkour pad in Prague, a rocket launch pad for Nasaand installations demonstrating the possibilities of sustainable design.
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Featured image shows the 3D printed Kohler Daniel Arsham Rock.01 sink. Photo via Kohler.