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3D-printed column close up
A close up of the 3D-printed column by Sam Welham and Richard Beckett.
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The 2.1 m 3D-printed column by Sam Welham and Richard Beckett.
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The 3D-printed column by Sam Welham and Richard Beckett to scale against a person.
A 3D-printed sculpture reaching more than two metres in height is said to be symbolic of the possibilities this technology could be bringing to architecture.
The column was designed and created by architect Sam Welham and designer Richard Beckett and was unveiled at the Additive Manufacturing Users Group (AMUG) Conference in Tucson, Arizona, in April 2014.
The London-based duo's masterpiece has generated some attention, especially as it serves to highlight a cross section of how additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology can be used in architecture.
The 2.1 m column was 3D-printed in two halves at voxeljet's service centre in Friedberg, Germany. The lower half was printed with a 250 dpi resolution and a layer thickness of 0.3 mm in sand. It transitions into the white region of the sculpture, made using high-resolution PMMA plastic with a layer thickness of 0.12 mm.
It was possible to print each of the lower as well as the upper half in one piece, despite the complexity and size of the mould - which featured numerous intricate undercuts.
voxeljet's large-fortmat VX4000 printer took less than 20 hours to print the bottom half in sand, which is 1.14 m high and weighs 134 kg, while the upper half was printed on a VX1000 printer in plastic and reaches almost a metre in height, weighing 134 kg. The build took some 34 hours.
Welham has expressed his excitement as to the technical possibilities 3D printing can offer architecture, in particular the technology on offer from voxeljet, as the scale and accuracy these machines achieve are a good fit for innovative contemporary designs.
Both creative believe voxeljet's large-format printers are currently the best option for producing detailed and ornamental architecture and Welham believes the column is aesthetic proof of this, as its geometry utilises a new "architectural language with references to historical and neo-digital designs".
Similarly, Welham claims the masterpiece boasts that fact 3D printing is no longer reserved for prototyping and that architecture at a 1:1 scale can now be achieved using this maturing technology.