The advantages of 3Dprinting of formworkare proven once again

voxeljet AG prints complex molds for “intelligent” concrete ceiling at DFAB (NEST). Using 3D printing, voxeljet AG created the highly-complex formwork for the research project DFAB House (digitally-manufactured house) in the NEST project (Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies) of the EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology). 

This involved a 78 m2 lightweight concrete slab as a structurally-optimised and functionally-integrated ceiling slab with a performative complex design. 3D printing using the Powder-Binder-Jetting process once again proved valuable in such a Project. 

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At NEST in Zurich, voxeljet has once again proven how useful 3D printing is for the creation of highly-complex formworks. For the DFAB House project (digitally-manufactured house), a research project from ETH Zurich as part of the Digital Fabrication Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR DFAB), 136 formwork elements were created using the Powder-Binder-Jetting process.   The specific process used was the Furan-Direct-Binding (FDB) process from voxeljet. A 3d printing technology in which silica sand layers are selectively bound together with an organic binder (furan resin) through polymerisation.

Flexible and exonomical formwork methods for complex shapes

For this demanding project, many factors spoke in favour of 3D printing of the individual formwork elements.

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With the VX4000 from voxeljet – the world’s largest 3D printing system for sand molds – formwork elements of 4.00 x 2.00 x 1.00 m can be printed. When post-processed accordingly, each of these elements can withstand concrete casting pressures of 100 kN/m². The 136 elements printed by voxeljet for the DFAB House had a total volume of over 6,000 litres. The largest element had a volume of approx. 70 litres.

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What is Powder-Binder-Jetting?

Powder-Binder-Jetting is an additive manufacturing process, which uses particle material, such as sand or plastic. voxeljet 3d printing systems apply thin layers (150-300 µm) of the powder material to a building platform with the so-called recoater. Subsequently, a high-performance print head applies a binder wherever the desired component is to be built. This selectively bonds the material to form the part. Then the building platform is lowered by one layer thickness and powder and binder are applied again. This process is repeated until the desired component is complete. The only prerequisite for 3D printing: Printable 3D data must be available. Afterwards, 3D-printed formworks can be used in the same way as conventional concrete formworks.

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