3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking

Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking

No matter how many times you hear about a new breakthrough, 3D printing is amazing, transformative technology. Now, a new method for 3D printing steel joints stands to revolutionize the construction industry. It looks pretty badass, too.

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Arup, an engineering and design firm, has developed an additive manufacturing technique for critical structural steel elements that they say will make construction cheaper, less wasteful, and more environmentally friendly. "By using additive manufacturing we can create lots of complex individually designed pieces far more efficiently," Arup's Salomé Galjaard said in a release. "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."

Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking
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The images Arup released along with the announcement certainly do showcase some very intricate designs that look like they're inspired by cellular structures. They almost look like sculptures, instead of hardware. Of course, it doesn't take much to improve on the current design:

Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking

It's hard to know exactly how much of the design is cosmetic and how much is actually structural. The extent to which many of these pieces need to be custom-made in complex projects does highlight how effective a solution 3D-printing would be. No matter what they look like, this new method sounds like a big step in the right direction. [Arup via ArchDaily]

Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking
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Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking
Illustration for article titled 3D Printed Steel Structures Are As Efficient As They Are Awesome-Looking
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Images by David de Jong via Arup

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DISCUSSION

I call BS, No way this will preform better (specially the top section) that the other piece... sure, it's got no welds and the thermal properties of the metal will remain constant. But my money is on this being a publicity stunt more than the result of finite element analysis.