The full potential of 3D printing, regardless of opinions and forecasts, is unknown and the exploration of applications has just begun. Many of the known applications on a larger scale are still expensive, slow and there are constraints in dimensions. It still makes sense in terms of efficiency to use 3D printing to produce only the complex part(s) of a bigger structure.
Alexandre Dubor, Anna Kulik and Theodoros Grousopoulos from the Institute of Advanced Architechture of Catalunya & Fab Lab Barcelona conducted some very interesting research that explored the potential of applying 3D printing technology to produce a large-scale flexible structure.
The design of the articulation kicked off by creating a case study based on the model presented in the image above. The joints were designed for specific movements, which would then allow the mobility of the construction, which requires 12 articulations for full movement.
The key function of most of the joints is a rotation around the axis. The axis, and the union, are connected to the basic unit, which can be connected to a maximum of three related extensions. The necessary mobility in construction could not be achieved if a central articulation was not designed. Its basic function is to retain the overall grid. In this case the metal bar did not articulate but glided through the joint.
Have a look at the final construction: