Web Exclusive | July 2014
Arup manufactures have used a 3D printer to create a revolutionary prototype of structural steel. The company was inspired to create this 3D printed steel after working on complex structures around the world that required an alternative material, which was lighter and had greater flexibility of use. Using new additive manufacturing techniques, this experimental prototype can lead to the production of steel parts and nodes that could be used to construct complex structures more efficiently. 12 cm in height, the prototypes are made from maraging steel and are produced at about half the size of a real node, and have all been put through preliminary material tests. Research conducted by Arup shows that the manufacturing method has the potential to significantly reduce costs, cut waste and slash the carbon footprint of the construction sector. According to the team leader Salome Galjaard, maraging steel is four times as strong as normal construction steel and is expected to become even slimmer, smaller and lighter as developments progress – marginally reducing the weight of structures.
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