Advances in additive manufacturing (AM) technologies present opportunities to fabricate customized structural parts at no extra cost. 3D printing offers the missing link to effectively establish a digital chain, from design to fabrication, for non-standard space frames. This research investigates the opportunities of customizing the joints in a structure, that relate to structural form, usage of bio-based materials, design for dissasembly, automated or guided assembly and functional integration. In parallel it explores new construction models that 3D printing allows based on prefabrication, as 3D printing the joints in a structure are one of the most effective ways to scale up AM for construction.
As AM technologies will become increasingly available in the near future they will enable the fabrication of bespoke space frames. This can be achieved by 3D printing only the necessary parts of such a system – the joints. By doing so, can we rethink the way we design and construct spatial structures in a fabrication-aware design process?
As part of ongoing interdisciplinary research of NCCR DFAB, at ETH Zurich, Capsules of complexity proposes design-to-construction solutions for design, fabrication and assembly of bespoke space frames.