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Tanner Theisen, Niloufar Emami
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to explore the possibilities of additive digital fabrication techniques for
customized repetitive manufacturing (CRM) as they apply to the design and fabrication of molds for precast
concrete panels. These digital fabrication methods are distributed enough that they are accessible, and the
objects produced through these methods can be more geometrically advanced than those produced through
Volumetric concrete panels supported by a dedicated structural element are the focal point of this study. These
panels have been advancing in their design, but the general fabrication methods in practice have not been
catching up with this advancement. Although some fabricators today utilize digital fabrication methods, many
concrete precasters still exclusively use traditional mold making methods. These methods involve the use of sheet
materials bent or cut by hand, requiring large facilities and specific tools that not many designers have.
Producing concrete panels by employing traditional mold making methods restricts the geometric possibilities of
their design, while it also limits the involvement of a designer in prototyping and fabricating panels. This study
proposes 3D printing molds as the key fabrication method for creating precast building elements.
After completing a review of precast paneling systems in over forty case studies, the design and fabrication
techniques employed in each project were interrogated. Next, two case studies, namely Le Vérone Tower and The
Perot Museum of Nature and Science were studied in depth. The issues of controlled variability by using 3D
printed molds were tested through pushing the design aesthetics of these projects. Stereolithography (SLA) resin
printing was the key process employed for recreating these panels. Considering both the available and upcoming
large scale 3D printers in the industry, the results demonstrate 3D printing molds as a viable fabrication method
for creating CRM parts for building construction.
THE DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF
FAÇADE PANEL SYSTEMS WITH
VARIABILITY MOLD - Replicating geometry of a precedent while altering
the fabrication method and increaing variability
CURVATURE MOLD - Doubly curved front and back geometry to show
possibilities of additive manufacturing for CRM