Wednesday, 2 December 2015

3D printing of an artificial reef in sandstone for Boskalis

For the Monaco Larvotto Reserve, Boskalis developed an artificial reef. Six of these objects were placed at the seabed in October 2015. The purpose is to stimulate bio diversity with objects that are 100% non toxic for the environment. The size of the objects is roughly 2 x 2 x 1 meter with a weight of approx. 2,5 tons.

Very special about this project is the 3D printing of sandstone technology, developed by Enrico Dini of Dinitech. The printing material is a mix of Dolomite sand and a marine safe binding agent that reacts on salt water which results in the creation of sandstone.

RhinoCentre was asked to be part of the design team for modeling the 3D object. Depending on the shape and design input, there are several strategies to get to a high quality 3D model. In this particular case, it was decided to use T-Splines for Rhino for subdivision modeling of an organic shape that is easy editable. Another challenge is that the printer is not "What you see is what you get" as the material thickness varies. This means that holes become smaller and columns become larger after printing.

Read more about this project in this nice Boskalis article.

Arrival of Reef objects in Monaco