Complex 3D-Printed Steel Components Push The Boundaries Of Architecture

Complex 3D-Printed Steel Components Push The Boundaries Of Architecture

Arup engineers are using the latest techniques to produce a design method for critical structural steel elements.

Emma Hutchings
  • 17 june 2014

Multidisciplinary organization Arup (a team of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists) was founded in 1946 with an initial focus on structural engineering. It is best known for its work on the Sydney Opera House in Australia, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Arup boasts a team of broad-minded individuals from a range of disciplines as well as an unconventional approach to design.

Its engineers are now pushing the boundaries of 3D printing to utilize the technology in real-world construction projects. They have used the latest additive manufacturing techniques to produce a design method for critical structural steel elements for use in various complex projects.This development could mean a new direction for the use of additive manufacturing in the fields of construction and engineering.


Arup’s research shows that these techniques have the potential to reduce both costs and waste, as well as cutting the carbon footprint of the construction sector. To showcase the possibilities of this new technology, a redesigned steel node was created for a lightweight structure using additive manufacturing.


The 3D printed steelwork pieces are very sophisticated in their design compared to those produced using the traditional design method. Arup funded this development work and collaborated with WithinLab, CRDM/3D Systems and EOS to realise the designs. Salomé Galjaard, Team Leader at Arup, said:

“By using additive manufacturing we can create lots of complex individually designed pieces far more efficiently. This has tremendous implications for reducing costs and cutting waste. But most importantly, this approach potentially enables a very sophisticated design, without the need to simplify the design in a later stage to lower costs.”

These developments from Arup push construction technology forward and could lead to new frontiers in what buildings can look like and how they function. By using additive manufacturing techniques, more complicated and unique steel elements could be created far more efficiently, resulting in construction projects that bend the traditional notions of what is possible in architecture and engineering.


[h/t] Dailytonic


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