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3D Printing Stone And Concrete… Explained!

ShapeDiverby ShapeDiver

Blog > Guest Posts

3D Printing Stone And Concrete… Explained!

ShapeDiverby ShapeDiver

<< Concr3de was founded in 2016 with the aim of providing a way to produce sustainable and unique forms of architecture, construction, design and manufacturing, using inkjet 3D printing technology. In this blog post, Matteo Baldassari (co-founder) shares his Mass Customization vision and how, thanks to ShapeDiver, it is one step closer to reality. >>

Mass Production vs Mass Customization

While traditional manufacturing methods still dominate across almost every industry, there’s no denying that the human desire to be different is pushing companies to try new processes which can help them deliver custom-made products in a cost-efficient way.

Mass customization through Additive Manufacturing is already very common for materials such as plastic or metal. Renowned 3D printing companies have been providing these services since years, but for some specific materials like concrete and stone, this process has still been too expensive or too complex for it to be commercially viable.

Up until now, the manufacturing process of objects made of these materials require artisanal experience and are very (human) labor intensive. For these objects to be considered for industrial scale adoption, their manufacturing process needs to be fully automated.

The Missing Link

Mass Customization has not been truly available on a global scale due to the lack of digital tools that help the end user to go from an idea to a physical object.

Thanks to technical developments and convergence of ideas like ShapeDiver and Concr3de, a company can now publish an algorithm in the form of a digital product on their website, which then their end users can customize online and immediately 3D-print a unique design.

This combination of parametric design via Grasshopper/Rhino, web-based customization and Additive Manufacturing can allow products to be designed and directly ordered online in a completely new range of materials at affordable prices.

This new digital craftsmanship allows to quickly go from a concept to a real tangible product in a matter of days using a sustainable, durable and functional material like stone.

3D-Printed Vase by Concr3de

In this example shown above, the final shape has been 3D-printed using Armadillo, an industrial ink jet system designed by the Concr3de Team, which is able to print a strong, durable and sustainable stone-like material in several colors with a precision up to 100 micron.

– Armadillo 3D-Printer from Concr3de-
Concr3de’s team is already scaling up the method to reach 2m3 production per day, this process would allow to fabricate parts up to 2 meters long with a definition of 0.2 mm. 

This new workflow represents a game-changing milestone in the industry because companies can now take advantage of these tools to simplify their supply chains, reduce material waste, avoid huge inventories and reduce human labour.

Additive Manufacturing is not a simple prototyping tool anymore, but rather a powerful, automated and flexible production process where the customer is at the center of the experience and is able to be part of the design process.

For companies this concept represents a new approach to provide custom industrial services at an affordable price without compromising the customers desire to be unique. It also allows for a new range of products for Interior Design and Architecture to be possible by using an easy and affordable fabrication process.


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