Supportless 3D Printing of Shells: Adaptation of Ancient Vaulting Techniques to Digital Fabrication

  • Mahan MotamediEmail author
  • Robin Oval
  • Paul Carneau
  • Olivier Baverel
Conference paper


With the improvement of the 3D printing industry, the interest in additive manufacturing of large-scale structures (AMLS) is rapidly increasing. Recent attempts of seeking solutions for 3D printing of large-scale buildings is the embodiment of the transition from current construction systems to automated robotic manufacturing workflows. The usage of formwork plays a crucial role in accelerating the progress of AMLS implementation in construction industries. Investigations of large-scale 3D printing of concrete structures are mostly related to robotics, material rheology and mechanics. Additionally, design and construction strategies for AMLS must be investigated for applications in architecture. This paper discusses solutions for supportless 3D printing of large-scale compression shells. The aid of special vault geometry and robotic trajectory generation comes from reverse engineering of ancient brick-laying techniques from worldwide-recognised vaulting precedents lacking formwork. Finally, strategies for the generation of robotic printing tool-path to span boundaries with variety of configurations with no temporary support is yielded and tested with the simulation of 1:20 scale construction practice by a “3Doodler” Pro pen as extrusion head (child) and ABB IRB\(\_ \)120 six-axis arm (parent).


Support-less 3D printing Robotic construction In-situ construction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mahan Motamedi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Robin Oval
    • 2
    • 3
  • Paul Carneau
    • 2
  • Olivier Baverel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Université Paris-Est, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Malaquais, Laboratoire Géométrie Structure ArchitectureParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Navier, UMR 8205, École des Ponts, IFSTTAR, CNRS, UPEChamps-sur-MarneFrance
  3. 3.ETH Zürich, Institute of Technology in Architecture, Block Research GroupZürichSwitzerland

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