A team lead by Arup has developed a method of designing and 3D Printing steel joints which will significantly reduce the time and cost needed to make complex nodes in tensile structures. Their research is being touted as "a whole new direction for the use of additive manufacturing" which provides a way of taking 3D printing "firmly into the realm of real-world, hard hat construction."
Aside from creating more elegant components which express the forces within each individual joint - as you can see in the above photo - the innovation could potentially reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector.
Read on for more on this breakthrough
Salomé Galjaard, the team leader at Arup, commented: "By using additive manufacturing we can create lots of complex individually designed pieces far more efficiently. This has tremendous implications for reducing costs and cutting waste. But most importantly, this approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs."
Although the traditional method of manufacturing these steel nodes is currently cheaper, Arup is predicting that "this will change in the short term."
Others involved in developing the technology were WithinLab (an engineering design software and consulting company), CRDM/3D Systems (the Additive Manufacturing partner) and EOS, who worked on the early development of the technology.