The Making of the White Tower, the World’s Tallest 3D Printed Structure

By on February 27th, 2024 in news, Usage

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Rendering of the future 3D printed White Tower [Source: YouTube]

The White Tower in Switzerland is set to become the world’s tallest 3D printed structure.

3D printed buildings are gradually becoming a more normal thing, but there is a long way to go before it becomes mainstream. In the meantime many experiments and “firsts” are undertaken around the world.

This project is to produce the “White Tower”, a 3D printed concrete theatrical tower that will be an astonishing 30m tall (about 100 feet). The structure will include five 6-8m wide levels and be used for theatre, music and other artistic endeavors in the Swiss town of Mulegns.

The tower will be produced with what appears to be a custom-designed 3D printer, courtesy of ETH Zurich. There will be approximately 4000 layers printed, each about 6mm tall.

The tower will not be 3D printed onsite, which would require a truly massive 3D printer — one that would be more than 30m tall. Instead, it seems they will be printing 32 segments at a separate location, and then assembling them onsite.

It’s also mentioned that some of the segments will be filled with concrete. This would be a quick way to produce some segments by printing the outer perimeter and topping up the interior with standard concrete.

One of the concerns of construction 3D printing is the strength of the printed structure. Here the project intends to insert steel rebar both vertically and horizontally into the structure as it is printed. This should ensure the tower doesn’t tip over.

The project will take a while to complete. Design work started in 2021, and printing started last year. The project is expected to be completed and opened to the public some time later this year.

Alas, this is only a temporary tower. It’s planned to be taken down in 2029. However, the intention is to re-erect the tower at other locations.

It’s not just tall — it’s portable, too.

Finally, I have to say that this design is truly incredible. It fully demonstrates the power of 3D printing to create building geometries that would not be feasible with other means, and opens us to a future world of mind-bending buildings.

Via Digital Building Technologies

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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