Although rather slow, spatial thermoplastic extrusion is one of the most economical 3D printing methods. It employs an efficient material distribution logic and paves the way to functional grading by engineering material properties through shape alone.
Curving wall, robotic process with thermoplastic spatial extrusion
Research, teaching and an installation project done at Gramazio Kohler Research, ETH Zürich
Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France
8 m x 10 m x 1-2m
ABS thermoplastic with pigments
Rhino, Python, Grasshopper
Universal Robots UR5 on a 2-axis tower setup
Andreas Thoma (installation lead), Norman Hack
Anna Szabo, Bo Cheng, Thijs van der Lely, Anne Cécile, Carfantan, Lex te Loo, Emma Flores Herrera, Nicolas Ganz, Pascal Ruckstuhl, Chen Ken, Altair Cerda Tirado
Yu-Ting Sheng, Cerda Altair, Carfantan Anne- Cécile, Bo Cheng, Basile Diem, Emma Paola Flores, Chen Kaihong, Meloek Mlihi, Mirziyants Regina, Matteo Ricchi, Aike Steentoft, Anna Szabo, Lex te Loo, Ku Tsung-Hsun, Thijs van der Lely, Shih-Yuan Wang, Tristan Wicht
Fondation Bettencourt Schueller
In the elective course “Extruded Structures” the students explored the design potentials of robotically printed mesh structures. Initially starting with conventional triangulated space frame structures, they expanded their research towards combined multi-sided polygons like rectangles and hexagons, and developed custom printing sequences for non-standard spatial frames. These were fabricated as continuous extrusions at a scale of 1:10 using one Universal Robot UR5 robotic arm with a custom-built ABS filament extruder. Further differentiation strategies included three-dimensional grid extension, cantilevering, bridging and free-form supports. The findings were directly incorporated into the design and production of the installation Iridescence Print at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. It is the first large-scale architectural installation to be automatically printed by robotic machines. Conceived as a spatially complex lightweight structure, the installation synthesizes a rigorous exploration of the architectural potentials of robotic extrusion of spatial meshes at full architectural scale. The multi-colored installation was developed during the elective thesis “Extruded Structures” and is exclusively presented at the exhibition „L’usage des formes – Artisans d’art et artistes” at the Palais de Tokyo, kindly supported by the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller.