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3D-Printing with stone slurry: „Stone on Demand“ offers many new possibilities for the marble branch

3D-printers can produce complex structures using stone-meal and a cohesive binder. Photo: Desamanera

Recycling waste from stone production / The stone branch should be weary not to miss the bandwagon as in the case of engineered stone

Update: Filippo Gobbin from Desamanera will lecture about the topic at the World Stone Congress during Xiamen Stone Fair (March 08, 14:00-15:00, in Room 402).

A name for the new technology could be „Stone on Demand“.

We are talking about 3D-printing with stone dust or stone slurry, a waste product from cutting and sawing stone blocks. State-of-the-art printers can reproduce complex three-dimensional objects layer by layer building up the desired shape with a stone paste extrusion. The extrusion is worked to a thin filament, and, with the aid of a Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printer, wall elements or complex three dimensional objects can be produced from scratch.

The theme bears enormous potential for the natural stone branch.

Gainful use of stone-meal or slurry, a constant by-product in natural stone production, is an important sustainability issue.

3D-printers can produce complex structures using stone-meal and a cohesive binder. Photo: Desamanera

But that’s not all: „Stone on Demand“ could become the new marble and granite’s new competitor. We recall that engineered stone also uses stone-meal. But in the case of the latter, the natural stone branch failed to jump on the bandwagon and make the challenge their own.

By now, engineered stone has become a strong competitor, e.g. in the production of kitchen countertops. A few stone-producing companies have vested interests in engineered stone.

Machines have mastered the basic challenges of 3D printing:
* what is the best grain size of stone-meal for specific uses?
* which type of binder or adhesive is suitable?
* how long must objects be left to dry, or can curing be expedited e.g. by use of ultra violet light?
* can color pigments be added during the printing process?

Italy’s Desmanera Company has progressed way beyond the experimental phase. They use only natural cohesive additives, and, by self-proclamation, can produce 3D printers in any desired size. Curing is completed in but a few minutes and surfaces can subsequently be worked with any conventional stone masonry machine.

According to Antonino Italiano, the company’s Rovigo-based headquarters, situated between Venice and Bologna, has recently developed a new product: „Pelle di Marmo (Marble Skin) prints super-thin marble or mineral coats on work- or wall-surfaces.” The thickness muss be no less than 1.5 – 2 mm. The technology here is not printing filaments but manually applicating the stone powder plus glue to the surface. By this also spots out of reach for a printing machine can be coated.

Antonino Italiano describes the company credo like this: „We build machines to the exact specifications of the customer.“

Desmarnera sees itself as more than merely a vendor of machines: „We seek partnerships in which we can transfer our entire know-how.“

Update: Filippo Gobbin from Desamanera will lecture about the topic at the World Stone Congress during Xiamen Stone Fair (March 08, 14:00-15:00, in Room 402).

Desamanera
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At London’s Brunel University a research project has been set up to further progress. The project is supported by the Portland Sculpture and Quarry Trust.

Video

Intitute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC)

(26.02.2017, USA: 02.26.2017)