ORNL – 3D Printing Molds

By Jennifer Burke | ORNL News | burkejj@ornl.gov

The construction industry may soon benefit from 3D printed molds to make concrete facades, promising lower cost and production time. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are evaluating the performance of 3D printed molds used to precast concrete facades in a 42-story building.

Molds are typically handmade from wood and fiberglass coatings, and they must be resurfaced after 20 to 30 pours. A 3D printed mold could potentially cast up to 200 pieces.

Researchers 3D printed molds for precasting concrete using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing, or BAAM™, system at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. Complex, durable mold designs can be produced in less time than traditional wood or fiberglass molds. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy (Photo courtesy of ORNL)

Researchers 3D printed molds for precasting concrete using the Big Area Additive Manufacturing, or BAAM™, system at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at ORNL. Complex, durable mold designs can be produced in less time than traditional wood or fiberglass molds. Credit: Jason Richards/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

“With 3D printed molds, architects can create complex designs for cornices and columns that they have not previously explored,” said ORNL’s Diana Hun. The research team used large-scale additive manufacturing technology to produce the molds, which are about as large as a queen size mattress. Industry partners were Gate Precast and Precast Concrete Institute.

About ORNL
UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE’s Office of Science. The DOE Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://science.energy.gov/.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy accelerates research and development of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions that strengthen U.S. energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality.

Source: ORNL

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