Tensile fabric and 3d printed bioplastic: A Dutch revolution

A Dutch design company has created a revolutionary sculptured facade using a tensile fabric structure combined with 3D printed bioplastic. This has been used on a temporary building that held EU meetings for the first half of last year, and the Amsterdam-based company is using its pioneering resources for other projects, too.

Tensile fabric and 3d printed bioplastic

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Development of a temporary building

DUS Architects has been working on a project that will see the first canal house in the world created from a 3D printer. They used the same concepts to develop the Mobile Europe Building facade, which would be a temporary structure.

As the building was only required for a short period of time, DUS Architects wanted to produce a structure that could be recycled afterward. Tensile fabric canopies are often used within temporary developments, so they took this concept as the base and combined it with their ground-breaking bio-based 3D printing filament research.

Bio-based plastic technology

The company has created a specialist plastic that is completely bio-based and manufactured from linseed oil. The main benefit of this plant-based material is that at the end of its lifetime, it can be shredded and then used for another purpose in the print industry.

The structure of the fabric gives the facade its main shape, just as with tensile fabric canopies such as those designed by http://signaturestructures.com/. These were created in a triangular shape to represent sailing ships that had been built in the area in the past. 3D printed construction methods developed for the Canal House project were used to create benches that fit inside the openings of the sails.

Tensile fabric and 3d printed bioplastic2

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3D printing technology

The temporary EU building was the first time that such a type of XXL 3D printing has been used globally for a public structure. The designs were produced using the same type of additive manufacturing that the majority of standard 3D printers use, but they were scaled up to create much larger objects.

Several other development projects are taking place globally that could take advantage of the possible future benefits of 3D printing, including the idea of a steel bridge in Amsterdam and experimental eco-villages.

The project team has gone on to continue working on the 3D-printed Canal House, which will be used as a flagship warehouse to showcase 3D-printed construction.

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