The making of Dutch Design Awards 2017

October 13 2017

What would the award show be without the awards? For the Dutch Design Awards 2017 Awards Show, Glamcult Studio designed the awards while Addfab, a 3D printing factory for the production of industrial metal parts, made their sketches into tangible awards. We took a peek behind the scenes at Addfab to find out how the Awards have been made!

The Dutch Design Awards 2017 Awards are produced with 3D metal printers in the 3D factory of AddFab. In this process many features are available, but of course not everything is possible yet. Therefore it is important that the 'design engineer' works together with the 'additive manufacturing engineer' to screen the design and design regulations for production. To print the components, we do need a 3D file (as shown in figure 1).

The 3D model will be transformed in a suitable design, consisting of multiple triangles. Furthermore, the printer needs a model that consists of layers, because the design can only be printed layer to layer. In every level, the material is melted in the right shape and in the right spot. The design is divided into layers by means of so-called 'slicer' software, dividing the 3D file in thousands of layers which the printer can produce separately. When the process of preparation is finished, the model can finally be sliced and scanned for possible complications. Then, the complete 3D model will be sent to the printer for production.

The printer prints multiple compartments at the same time, since they are placed on one large building platform (figure 2). Support structures (in purple) are added to the compartments (in yellow) to keep the Awards in place while printing and to release the heat that is generated during the process. As material for the Awards, titanium (Ti-6AL-4V) is used. The printing process consists of two steps that are constantly repeated; first a thin layer of powder is stripped of by a 'recoater', then the right areas are melted by a laser. By repeating these steps, the compartments for the Awards are made.

Figure 1. 3D design of the DDA 2017 Award
Figure 2. Buildplaat with multiple components
Figure 3. Buildplaat with multiple components

After printing all layers, the Awards are actually buried in a container with loose powder. The building platform with the printed Awards, will then slowly be removed from the powder, while the remaining powder falls back into the machine to be recycled.

Do you want to know more on the printing of metal? Come to the masterclass (in Dutch) on 26 October from 18:45 h to 20:45 h in AddFab (Gebouw TX, Zwaanstraat 1, Eindhoven). Please reserve your spot via info@addfab.nl, because only 25 people can participate.