Ceramic 3D Printing

Ceramic 3D printing – The future of brick architecture

Paulo J.S. CRUZ*, Ulrich KNAACK, a,b
Bruno FIGUEIREDO, c
Dennis de WITTE, b
* Lab2PT, School of Architecture, University of Minho
4800-058 Guimarães, Portugal
pcruz@arquitetura.uminho.pt
a, Design of Construction, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology
b, Institute of Structural Mechanics and Design, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technische
Universität Darmstadt
c, Lab2PT, School of Architecture, University of Minho

The advent of Additive Manufacturing (AM) of ceramic, brought unprecedented possibilities for the building industry while exploring and incorporating components with specific design requirements. It definitively reshaped and expanded the boundaries of what’s possible to achieve with masonry construction and opened new domains, with multiple angles of study and experimentation and with a large industrial potential.

This paper by Paulo J.S. CRUZ, Ulrich KNAACK, Bruno FIGUEIREDO and Dennis de WITTE presents the main challenges and outcomes of an ongoing research project aiming to explore the integration of digital additive manufacturing techniques in the architectural design and production processes of free-form stoneware bricks for building envelopes. The project uses a clay extruding printer, Lutum®, built by the company Vormvrij available at the Advanced Ceramics R&D Lab, at the Design Institute of Guimarães and at Technische Universität Darmstadt.

The path, material flow and printing speed of the printing process are defined digitally. The movement speed, extrusion flow and the air pressure can be controlled manually to adapt the specific printing process to the characteristics of the clay during the printing process itself. The widely accepted Pfefferkorn method has been extensively used to evaluate and control the plasticity of the stoneware used.

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