Collaborators: Professor Dr. Benjamin Dillenburger (DBT ETH Zurich), Researcher Pietro Odaglia (DBT ETH Zurich)
Industrial collaborator and sponsor: Stahlton Bauteile AG
MinMax presents an approach for reusable formwork for thin-shell, double-sided, highly detailed building envelopes based on binder jet 3D printing technology and glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC). Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC) is a great candidate for freeform thin shell facade elements, due to its lightweight, high mechanical performance, durability, versatility, and aesthetics. In the last 30 years, GFRC has contributed significantly to the construction industry. GFRC is lightweight (about 75% lighter than traditional concrete with rebar), and its life cycle is longer than traditional concrete. Using Binder jetting reusable formwork outperforms the milled and 3D printed thermoplastic formwork in terms of speed and cost of fabrication, precision, and structural strength against deformation. Binder Jet 3D Printing offers significant geometric flexibility, detail resolution, and precision.
We could demonstrate this approach on a minimal surface structure assembled from 32 GFRC elements, cast with 4 individual formwork elements, each of them reused 8 times in less than 4 days. By demonstrating that 3DP formwork cannot only be used once but also for small series production, we increase the field of economic application of binder jetting for formwork. The presented fabrication method of formwork based on additive manufacturing opens the door to more individualized, freeform architecture using GFRC.