what it now calls an “on demand fl oor”, driven by software tools it has developed itself alongside traditional industrial XL 3D print technology. The fl oors it produces consist of 3D printed patterns that are installed on site and fi nished with a bio-binder terrazzo. The fl oors are produced in a

sustainable manner, thanks to the use of bio-print plastic and recycled materials. Vermeulen was one of three architecture graduates, alongside Hedwig Heinsman and Martine de Wit, who began working together to make architecture more widely available by digitising the interaction between developers and inhabitants. It was as part of that process that they built their own 3D printer,

refi ning a digital production process via a separate business, the sort of thinking that led to the eventual formation of Aectual. Another Dutch company, Studio RAP, has been using 3D printing to create ceramic tiles for the pioneering New Delft Blue project in the historic western Netherlands city.

A BLEND OF TECHNIQUES AND CONCEPTS Fusing 3D clay printing, computational design and artisanal glazing, they created no fewer than 4,000 stunning contemporary ceramic tiles which were to form the entrance to the Poor Meesters building block. After printing these tests at Studio RAP’s workshop, the tiles went straight into the kiln at Koninklijke Tichelaar where they were glazed. The plan was to cover the four-metres-wide, eight-metres-high entrance with around 4,000 of these tiles, all in Delft Blue, a colour infl uenced by the traditional porcelain and intended to “provide passers-by with a glimpse of the idyllic life going on inside”. One of the great advantages of 3D printing is that, when a concept

comes to mind, a would-be manufacturer can simply access their 3D design software and bring a prototype to life immediately through the extruder. After traveling with his wife in Portugal, one software engineer told the Instructables website he had become captivated by the country’s traditional painted tin-glazed ceramic Azulejo tiles and wanted to integrate them into their own housing projects. But when they struggled to fi nd a design they both liked and was available in small quantities, the husband began experimenting with his


An innovative method of coral restoration using specially designed 3D printed artifi cial “reef tiles” by architects and marine scientists working together at the University of Hong Kong. They were made to attach to the corals to increase their survival chances in the Hoi Ha Wan Marine Park, a biodiversity hotspot home to more than three-quarters of reef-building corals in Hong Kong and more than 120 fi sh species. But recent years have seen a gradual deterioration of the coral habitat, coupled with coral bleaching and a series of mass mortality events in 2015-2016, have put the future of this important coral community at risk.

3D printer, along with PLA fi lament and other “ingredients”, including Drywall Spackle, Rustoleum Semi-Gloss Clear Spray Paint and Isopropyl Alcohol. After fi nding photos online, he used Gimp to create a silhouette of each colour and converted the JPG fi les into a vector fi le before using a free browser-based CAD program to transform it into a 3D entity, beginning a process that produced what were generally regarded as spectacular results. The concept is still relatively

new. When they took hold In the 1980s, 3D printing techniques were considered really only suitable for producing functional or aesthetic prototypes, in those days it was known as rapid prototyping. Within the past three years, the

precision, repeatability, and material range have increased greatly to the point that some processes are considered viable as an industrial- production technology.


spoken of these days in terms of additive manufacturing.

is often



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