3DXL Exhibit: 3D Printing Potential Is the Focus

Written on Jun 29, 2015

Close-up of the 3D printed node within the Mangrove Structure sculpture. Photos by Kian Tang.

Technological developments in 3D printing are impacting our approach in the fields of architecture, engineering, and design. Advances in printing technology using a variety of materials have become feasible allowing for the imagination to wander into realms of possibility considered impossible previously. Think of self-supporting robots printing an 80-storey high-rise tower – it’s much more plausible than you may think given some projects currently being undertaken such as this 3D printed metal bridge.

Recently, Entuitive collaborated with Denegri Bessai Studio (DBS) on an exciting project involving the design of the Mangrove Structure sculpture for the 3DXL exhibit by DX | Design Exchange. The exhibition shines a spotlight on innovative and creative large-scale 3D printed works and presents it to a mainstream viewing audience – in a glass box within the populous intersection of King and Blue Jays Way.

The sculpture is a bent-active structure constructed of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) rods which are connected by uniquely shaped 3D printed nodes. Using state-of-the-art modeling techniques, DBS iterated through a number of conceptual bent-active forms prior to the final project now constructed. Entuitive was involved in the early stages of the project helping to rationalize which forms would pose the most challenges for 3D printed nodes through loading induced from the bent active nature of the rods. As DBS started to converge on a final form, CastConnex joined the collaboration providing their expertise in modeling and analysis of the complex nodes which were to be printed. Printing constraints, such as size and material, were reviewed with the team – ultimately leading to DBS and CastConnex providing a creative solution of subdividing each connector into multiple parts for printing, then post-connecting to create the final larger nodes.

Various photos of the Mangrove Structure sculpture.

The design process allowed Entuitive to explore and understand what challenges and limitations currently exist in 3D printing for structural applications as well as providing an opportunity to be forward-looking and explore how we can translate these exciting technologies and  possibilities to real-world building applications.

You can check out the Mangrove Structure at the 3DXL exhibit which is currently on display at the Design Exchange’s satellite location at 363 King Street West (Map), running from May 14 to August 16. For more information, visit the DX website.

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At the core of the exhibition is a survey on the application of 3D printing in the context of the AEC industry. Arabesque Wall, an intricately detailed 3D printed sandstone sculpture by Swiss architects Michael Hansmeyer and Benjamin Dillenburger, replicates complex old world ornamentation using modern day tools.



Saltygloo, a pavilion printed from harvested sea salt by Emerging Objects, investigates the use of renewable 3D printed materials. And DUS Architects presents key components from the world’s first 3D printed house to be built in Amsterdam.



Peter Olendzki
Senior Engineer, Vertebrae
P: 416.477.5831
E: peter.olendzki@entuitive.com