At Bartlett School of Architecture, students have created a multi-nozzle extrusion system for Delta WASP 40100 Clay

At Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL (University College London), students have developed a multi-nozzle 3D printing extrusion system mounted on a Delta WASP 40100 Clay capable of printing silicone.

The team, consisting of Tom Younger, Tianyang Li, and Qinyuan Zheng, developed their project as part of their Master’s degree thesis in the Design for Manufacture post-graduate faculty at Bartlett School of Architecture.

Guided by their tutor Arthur Prior, the students managed to develop their own AM technology compatible with Delta WASP 40100 Clay and use it to create a lightweight and ‘breathing’ window frame structure that can regulate the amount of light entering a building’s façade.

Using a multi-nozzle extruder to create a ‘breathing’ shading system for buildings

The team, consisting of Tom Younger, Tianyang Li, and Qinyuan Zheng, focused their research on developing a multi-nozzle 3D printing extrusion system. Their goal was to fabricate silicone auxetic tiles for a pneumatic shading system, that could regulate the amount of light entering a building’s façade by expanding and contracting the silicone membranes.

The team has executed the project on a global scale, overseeing the design, manufacturing, and testing of both the extruder and compatible materials. Their final choice of silicone was driven by its elasticity and durability, breaking away from traditional architectural structures and creating innovative designs with their ability to produce large deformation effects.

The idea behind the project was to find a way to balance shading and light transmission in buildings by adjusting the light directly through their façade design, rather than relying on energy-intensive mechanical equipment.

After being printed through the multi-nozzle extrusion system, the silicone auxetic tiles were sandwiched between two silicone membranes. These were then attached to an acrylic backing in an aluminum clamping profile, forming a chamber of air. By pumping air into the chamber and inflating the membrane, the auxetic patterns would expand, increasing the negative spaces and enabling more light to enter the façade.

A photosensor was then added to control the inflation of the cushions, adjusting them based on light levels. In a way, the façade mimicked human breathing, expanding and contracting with inhaling and exhaling actions.

This study represents just one of the countless applications of this system, which has the potential to establish a new paradigm for Additive Manufacturing. In continuation of their research, the team also developed a print head with individual nozzle control, aimed at printing complex structures with high material throughput and significantly reducing printing time.

Project credits

Title: Multi-nozzle Additive Manufacturing

Authors: Tom Younger, Tianyang Li, Qinyuan Zheng

Master’s thesis in Design for Manufacture at Bartlett School of ArchitectureUCL

Tutor: Arthur Prior

Photo credits: Tom Younger, Tianyang Li, Qinyuan Zheng

Professional LDM 3D Printing

Discover Delta WASP 40100 Clay, the professional 3D printer for paste-based materials that students are using at the Bartlett School of Architecture in UCL. With Delta WASP 40100 Clay It’s possible to print directly on the floor or on a printing surface removable steel. You can also continue printing without waiting for the piece to dry and simply by moving the printer.

Delta WASP 40100 Clay