D-Shape® is a method of digital construction that uses a binder jetting 3D printer for architecture. D-Shape materializes buildings or building blocks directly from your computer via a process of alternating layers of granular material and writing on them with an appropriate ‘Ink Binder’ that turns the granular material into a shape. D-Shape deposits any mix granular material and fibers in a range of diameter starting from 0,1 to 4 mm (and theoretically also up to 20 mm, if requested), and any ‘Ink Binder’ having a viscosity between water and a slurry. The nozzles of the D-Shape’s printer head deposits drops of ‘Ink Binder’ whose volume are about 100 times bigger than existing inkjet printer heads. Seen from the outside, the D-Shape appears as a portal structure which supports a peripheral frame raised along four columns. On the frame there are two gantries, one of which distribute and spreads a granular material, while the second holds a multi-binder-jetting print head. D-Shape is designed to be multi material and multi-binder: the granular material may be of almost any nature, while the binder may be an aqueous solution of different additives. The gantry distributor is powered by a feeding system of granular material from the ground, while the print head is fed by a tank and by a hydraulic system. A personal computer supervises all control operations of the machine. The process can be automatic, but the presence of at least one operator and a few assistants is compulsory: every moment of the process must be monitored to ensure the quality of the manufacturing process and the efficiency of the machine.
D-Shape® is the original and only large-scale 3D printer that can build up entire conglomerate building structures in one go, from the basement to the roof, including ceilings, stairs, base- and high-reliefs, and partitioning walls. This is made possible by the particular material deposition technique that makes the structure self-sustaining during its construction. In this way, if the resistance of the material allows it, it is possible to construct buildings of any shape.