3D Printed Fastener-Free Connections for Non-Structural and Structural Applications – An Exploratory Investigation
The construction industry has shown increasing interest in AM technologies and has successfully implemented various proof of concept projects using different AM processes. Much of the research on AM in the construction industry has focused on development of new large-scale extrusion printing systems and on development of cementitious materials for AM applications, whereas research exploring new applications of already existing AM technologies and materials suitable for construction applications has been scarce. This paper explores the use of existing, small-scale material extrusion 3D printers to create fastener-free connections that could be used in structural or non-structural applications. These connections, inspired by traditional wood joinery and modern proprietary connections were printed using polylactic acid (PLA) material. The flexural strength of the connections was then tested using a four-point bending test to evaluate their potential structural performance and to identify connection types that warrant further research in this exploratory proof of concept study.