Concre3DLab, a research institute embedded within the Department of Structural Engineering (Ghent University) just released VoxelPrint, a new Grasshopper plug-in for voxel-based numerical simulation of concrete printing.
The software component can voxelize any three-dimensional shape into a (Giga) set of identical finite elements and produce ready-to-use Input files for simulation in Abaqus. The main contribution of this work is providing an extensive, yet easy-to-use plugin to be used by both non-experts (e.g. architects and designers that are already familiar with the parametric toolbox that is provided by Grasshopper) and more advanced users, that can further experiment with the broad range of input parameters in an attempt to optimize their 3D print design.
The core component uses state-of-the-art numerical methods for simulation of concrete printing. According to the authors, its general implementation is based on an approach first presented by Wolfs, Bos, and Salet, but also incorporates the newest extensions proposed by Vantyghem, Ooms, and De Corte. VoxelPrint is freely available for educational and academic use and can be downloaded from this link.
Concre3DLab focuses on the 3D printing of concrete structures. The research areas focus on different aspects of 3D printing of concrete structures. Besides VoxelPrint, the team is also at work on CobraPrint: a Grasshopper plug-in that allows for the creation of finite element models without any prior knowledge of numerical modeling required.
In contrast to VoxelPrint, a structured mesh is generated by sweeping a cross-section of the printed concrete layer along the print path. The plug-in was evaluated and validated based on experimental and numerical results from literature. The main advantage of CobraPrint is the possibility to add contact-based interactions between layers. Also, a dynamic analysis is used with numerical damping which smoothens the analysis. A user subroutine URDFIL can be added to monitor the deformations of the model and stop the analysis when a predefined threshold is reached.