The technology


The Method and the Device

D- Shape is a particle bed 3D printer for architectural uses patented in 2005 by Enrico Dini as a ‘Translational Invention’,  inspired by the powder bed 3D printer for office environment invented at MIT in the late 80’s.

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 a binder that turns the granular material into a shape. D-Shape deposits any mix of granular material in a range of diameter starting from 0,1 to 4 mm ( and theoretically also up to 20 mm, if requested), and any liquid Binder having a viscosity between water and a cementitious slurry. The nozzles of the D-Shape’s printer head deposit droplets of binder’ whose volume is about 100 times bigger than existing inkjet printer heads.

The machine consists of a rigid 4×4 meter frame, a large flatbed and a  custom print head holding up to 300 nozzles. CAD-CAM software drives the machinery during the building process, scanning across the surface and depositing droplets (voxels) of the binder.

The CAD process

  • Design concept
  • D-Shape consultation
  • Submit 3D CAD file
  • Open within Monolite software:
  • Digital slice and binder layers

The CAM process

  • Deposition of the sand bed
  • Spreading and flattening
  • Binder placed in 2-4 passes
  • 5 millimeters layer increase
  • Repeat

Curing and Finishing

  • Removal of the supporting powder bed
  • Post-infiltration with extra binder
  • Sanding & polishing