Get knotted with 3D printing - 3Dealise in Engineering Capacity

3Dealise, an industrial 3D printing and engineering company, has worked with Rinus Roelofs to bring his ‘digital sculpture’ ideas to life.


Get knotted with 3D printing - 3Dealise in Engineering CapacityGet knotted with 3D printing - 3Dealise in Engineering Capacity


The challenge was to produce a giant 2.3m tall cylindrical form for Mr Roelofs, who describes the shape as ‘a tube that is knotted in an unconventional way.’


The company produced prototypes of two designs for Mr Roelofs and they were unveiled at the RapidPro tradeshow in March.


Sculptor Mr Roelofs, said: “I have had the idea for this sculpture for a long time, and only in the late ‘90s the software was advanced enough to be able to design it.


First, I made a version with digitally cut layers of wood glued together. 3D printing a small version in plastic became possible a few years back. And now for the first time it has been possible to make a life-size version in one piece,” he explained.


Mr Roelofs has been a pioneer in the field for over 20 years, many of his ideas are so geometrically complex that they are a challenge to realise in practice.


The company first produced a 400mm tall prototype of the two designs for the sculptor to demonstrate what is possible.


3Dealise used a two-step process to produce the items, firstly a giant 3D printer produced a mould for metal castings, then a traditional casting process was used.


Roland Stapper, 3Dealise’s CEO, said: “This new technology is important for two reasons.


It demonstrates that design freedom is available for large items, such as this 2.3m-tall work of art. 3D printing is often associated with relatively small parts, but the benefits are equally available for large parts.


Second because this technology is capable of producing large metal items, it shows that structurally strong and vandal proof items can be made with 3D printing. This is essential for outdoor displays of works of art,” he concluded.



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