Largest Sand-Printed Structure Installed


A new 3D-printed installation is on display for an event in Diryah, Saudi Arabia. This time, the structure is made of sand.

Firms Precht and Mamou-Mani Architects created the ribbon-like structure—named “Sandwaves—from sand and furan resin.

The companies say they wanted to use a natural material that was abundant in the area to show how “nature and technology can harmoniously work together.

"We both believe in the cradle-to-cradle approach to design, using materials that can go back to their natural state, leaving no trace," Arthur Mamou-Mani said in an interview.

Sandwaves is comprised of 58 individual 3D-printed elements that are combined to make the larger structure, making it what the companies call the largest sand-printed installation to date.

The designers worked with engineer firm Format. which used parametric design tools to generate the shapes and thicknesses of each piece, which weighs approximately 160 kilograms (about 350 pounds).

Printing in the Region

Various steps have been taken in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia to develop a 3D construction innovative base.

By 2025, Dubai envisions that at least 25% of every new building in the city will feature some form of 3D printing. In order to prepare, the service bureau signed distribution agreements with 3D printing construction companies Cobod International (Denmark) and Ai Build (London) to sell its systems within the United Arab Emitrates.

In April of last year, the American University in Dubai and 3DVinci Creations came together to establish a scientific research center for 3D printing concrete buildings.

Dubbed The Center for 3D Concrete Printing and Digital Construction, and slated to be built on the university’s campus, it is also reported to be a first of its kind in the Middle East.

In a cooperation agreement with 3D-printing company 3DVinci Creations, AUD students, faculty members of engineering and architecture and researchers from 3DVinci now have access to one of its 3D printers on campus.

Global engineering consultancy firm Robert Bird Group (London) and Arabtec Construction Company (Dubai) also signed a cooperation agreement with the University and 3DVinci.

The new establishment will aim to create a consortium in order to drive the use of 3D printing concrete technology in construction with the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

While conducting research, the center plans to focus on innovative processes, business models geared toward 3D printing and developing products, materials and tools. In addition, the center will also be working to provide local and regional communities with 3D printing training and educational workshops.

To ensure a successful outcome, AUD plans to incorporate individuals and entities from academic, industry and government fields into its team to promote a “3D printing culture.”

Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia firm Elite for Construction & Development Company purchased what has been described as the “world’s largest 3D construction printer” from Cobod. The purchase of the BOD2 3D printer was announced last March and aims to improve Saudi Arabia’s similar 2030 vision for the country’s economy and innovative housing developments.

The Bod 2 is a modular gantry-based 3D construction printer that can produce buildings of 12-by-27-by-9 meters, as well as three-story structures of 300 square meters per floor.

The purchase was in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan, which is the country’s program to enhance the development and diversification of its economy. As part of that plan, the kingdom is aiming to build 1.5 million homes in the next 10 years.

Earlier that same month, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Housing, Majid Al-Hogail, and Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Bin Abdullah Al Qasabi, unveiled Benaa Housing, a website platform that is slated to help developers and contractors review housing projects across the kingdom.

At the end of last year, Boston-based company Apis Cor recently announced that it has completed what it touts as the largest 3D-printed building in the world—in 21 days.

The structure is a two-story administrative governmental office building in Dubai. It was built using just one mobile printer.

And, most recently, Dubai-based design studio Middle East Architecture Network/Lab unveiled a pavilion made of multiple 3D-printed materials, including 30,000 recycled water bottles.


Tagged categories: 3D printing; 3D Printing; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Good Technical Practice

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