Oct 6, 2016 | By Alec

Records are obviously meant to be broken, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) currently holds the Guinness World Record for largest single-piece 3D printed object: a 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide, and 1.5 feet tall wing tool that was custom-made for Boeing. Coincidentally, a 110 square meter pavilion in Beijing is currently the world’s largest object, though it has been 3D printed in more than 5000 separate blocks. But ORNL is now working to break its own record for biggest single-piece object with not one, but two pavilions called ‘Flotsam & Jetsam’ by innovative architecture pioneers SHoP Architects. Construction is expected to begin in November in Miami, Florida.

This remarkable project is being masterminded by New York-based architecture firm SHoP, which has previously developed anything from stadiums and skyscrapers to entire city districts. In that respect, a couple of pavilions can be seen as a strange choice, but the company has been focusing on next-generation fabrication for years. They have won several awards for innovative architecture, including Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Architecture Firm in the World” in 2014, and are eager to pioneer new technologies. What could be more potent than 3D printing and digital fabrication right now?

The immediate impetus for these 3D printable pavilions was the 2016 Design Miami Visionary Award, which came with an invitation to create a gateway environment the Design Miami exhibition. SHoP therefore opted to develop a set of pavilions that capture the playful and technologically innovative identity of Miami and simultaneously mimics the beach. The ORNL and Tennessee startup Branch Technology were brought in for their expertise, with the latter company working to commercialize construction 3D printing opportunities.

The design itself has been inspired by the shape of jellyfish, featuring a sinuous, lattice and monocoque shape, meaning that the exterior skin will be an integral part of the structure. “It was almost like how do we turn a 3D truss into a cephalopod?” SHoP co-founder Gregg Pasquarelli says of the design. “With all SHoP projects, form comes from how the building works: What’s the effect we want the building or the structure or object to have? What does it feel like? What does it do?” In addition to outdoor seating, the pavilions will also host a bar.

The design itself was realized by using custom software from Dassault Systemes (of SolidWorks), and was purposefully adapted for quick prefabrication and on-site assembly. It also has to be easy to disassemble and move, as the pavilion will be making another stop after Design Miami. 3D printing will play a critical role in that. SHoP previously looked at injection molding and even boat-building techniques before ultimately deciding that only 3D printing met all the technical requirements – and provided more aesthetic freedom.

The pavilions will be 3D printed using two different technologies, which each partner providing one. Branch Technology will provide a robotic arm setup that will 3D print an ABS and carbon fiber substrate, inspired by biological cells. ORNL will subsequently use their custom 3D printing platform to 3D print the structures themselves in a biodegradable bamboo material.

All parties have already said that the result should surpass the current ORNL Guinness World Record in terms of size, and the entire construction should offer a very high strength-to-material ratio. Just a pound and a half of carbon fiber substrate can support 1,500 pounds, while the porous top structure should easily withstand wind loads. “We’re playing on the impact resistance and structural integrity of materials”, Rebecca Caillouet, a senior associate at SHoP says. “You have to ask what’s the least amount of material we can use to make something that’s optimized for the structure. 3D printing has no geometric limitations in that sense so we were able to go after this amorphic sculptural form.”

This project is expected to be around for a long time. Upon the completion of Design Miami, Flotsam & Jetsam will be moved to the Miami Design District's Jungle Plaza for a cultural program set up with the Miami's Institute of Contemporary Art.

More importantly, similar projects could appear in the near future, Pasquarelli revealed. While no concrete plans have been laid out yet, SHoP has become a big fan of 3D printing. “We don’t want this to be a one-off thing. This continues the trajectory of our curiosity and our interest in design and the art world and making beautiful things and experimental things. Sometimes you have less ability to be experimental with a 1,000-foot-tall tower so you take opportunities with smaller projects to push what you can do,” he argued. “The speed at which you can do small projects like this is great since you can test new ideas and these then seep into your hand and eye, eventually impacting how you design in the next few years.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application

Source: Co.Design


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