Digital production of bionic structural parts

The architect Daniel Büning studies novel computer-supported design methodologies, which also includes the use of bionics. In this process, efficient structures from nature are transferred into technical designs, with the goal of creating light but very strong structural parts with minimal use of materials, which are in high demand in many technical applications ranging from architecture to aviation and aerospace. 

With his »Natural Column Project«, Daniel Büning has created the world's first architectural part with a complex internal microstructure, which was generated with a digital simulation process and turned into reality using an additive manufacturing process. This project would not have been possible without a layer-by-layer digital production process, since these complex structures, which are inspired by nature, cannot be produced using "traditional" CNC-based production methods. These types of parts can only be created with large-format 3D printing systems.

The Natural Column Project came together at voxeljet's service center on the VX4000 large-format printer, which can print sand molds with a volume of up to eight cubic meters. The structure was printed in four individual parts to facilitate the handling of the structural element with dimensions of 1720 x 921 x 1761 mm. The exhibit impresses with its outstanding richness of detail and high strength. It is another example of how 3D printing has become the enabler of trend-setting production Technologies.

Technical data

Total size  1,763 x 1,720 x 923 mm 
Weight  1,065 kg
Individual pieces8
Material Sand
Layer thickness 0.3 mm
Lead time  10 days
Build time 65 hours