3D printing in large scale for art installations

Large scale 3D printing has a lot of potential for being used to create ehxhibitions and installations, but not everyone knows why to choose this technology. 3D printing lets you to overcome limits of manufacturing, experimenting with shapes and structures that are not possible in other ways.

Stairs to Infinity

In this case study, we’ll see how additive manufacturing opens new ways to design stairs with parametric techniques: lighter and with recycled materials.

3D printed stairs art installation in Cosmocaixa Museum in Barcelona

The structure has been designed in wireframe to reach the goal of lightness and resistance at the same time.

This project is designed by Carmen Baselga and Hector Serrano for the exhibition PRINT3D in Cosmocaixa Museum in Barcelona. The concept of the project was trying to design a spiral staircase of 12 meters, only supported by transparent threads, as light as possible.

Gelosia

Gelosia is a project that uses 3d printing on a large scale to create big partition walls. Like for Stairs to Infinity, It was designed by Carmen Baselga and Hector Serrano for the exhibition PRINT3D of Cosmocaixa museum in Barcelona.

3d printed art wall at Cosmocaixa museum in Barcelona

The purpose of the project was to separate sections of the exhibition while maintaining the view through it. 

3D printing process

The wireframe structure has been chosen not only for functional issues, but also for the light and shades effects that this holes pattern creates.
Grasshopper is the software used to generate the gcode and the route that the 3d printer follows. If you want to see how to generate the gcode directly from Grasshopper, click on the button

assembling 3d printed stairs installation

This design process permits to minimize the waste of material, optimizing the shape and reducing the material only to the structural parts

Each step has been divided and printed in parts to have the chance to add couplings to make the assembly easier. This procedure has led to shipping the entire stairs in two boxes, optimizing the logistics and dropping the CO2 emissions.

PLA pellet

The material used to print the project is PLA recycled from food packaging, mixed with natural white pigment. In this way the esthetic result is excellent and it is not necessary to finish it with final painting. Printing with pellets has many advantages: you can use recycled plastic, maybe from other wrong printed pieces, it is a lot cheaper than filament and it is also faster. 

Large scale 3D printer

For these two projects the used printer is Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0. It permits to print big pieces until 1 meter of diameter and it is really used for installations or to create walls. The procedure is to print in pieces and then assembly them, building the entire structure.

large scale 3D printer
Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0

It has two ways to extrude, filament and pellet. It is suitable for these project for its big nozzle that leads to a super fast print. Layers are bigger but you can finish the pieces and use a paint to cover the typical lines.