The Baltics’ First Large-Scale 3D Concrete Printed Environmental Object Will be Displayed

12th of December, 2023
The first 3D printed concrete sculpture is being assembled, before its installation by RTU's Faculty of Civil Engineering. Photo: Antra Danberga

The first 3D concrete environmental object in the Baltics - LabLab, an innovation cosmonaut more than two meters high, will be unveiled on the RTU student campus at the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Ķīpsalas Street 6A, on December 12 at 10:00. It was designed and built by RTU students, combining the competences acquired in the studies and the technological possibilities provided by the only 3D concrete printing scientific laboratory in the Baltics.

«LabLabs is the mascot of the RTU Science and Innovation Center's Design Factory, which helps students, scientists, and all interested parties to implement innovative projects using the center's infrastructure, knowledge, and expert support to turn ideas into real products, » said Elīna Miķelsone, head of the RTU Science and Innovation Center's Design Factory.

«LabLabs will be the first 3D printed concrete environmental object in the Baltics, which all interested parties will be able to view freely. Our plan is to create several sculptures that will also serve as a material and technology test site for students and researchers. The goal is to introduce this innovative construction technology to the public and inspire future engineers to think, create, develop technologies, and look for new applications,» emphasized Matijs Babris, RTU Faculty of Architecture doctoral student. 

She added, «Cultural elements are a good way to start getting to know 3D concrete, because they clearly demonstrate the possibilities of the technology to print relatively complex geometric shapes with low material consumption and in an environmentally friendly way».

RTU Faculty of Architecture, Mechanical Sciences, Transport and Aeronautics, and Construction Engineering students participated in the creation of the sculpture. They created the visual image of the sculpture; then designed, developed the print files, printed the necessary parts for the figure, and tested solutions for safe and long-lasting parts connection. The students were assisted by Lauris Krauze from the Latvian Academy of Arts for the design development of the sculpture, and experts from the research and innovation platform «Morberga studija», Nicolas Predella and Vents Strautmanis, who advised on the division and assembly of the structure.  AB Claussen Latvia construction engineer Artūrs Veiss also lent a helping hand.

The sculpture was created in the RTU Faculty of Civil Engineering 3D concrete printing scientific laboratory. The concrete mix for the 3D printing was developed by Sakret, the leading construction mix manufacturer in the Baltics. The mixture was perfected in cooperation with RTU scientists, testing its strength and frost resistance in laboratory conditions. The sculpture will also allow for testing in material and technology in real conditions, explained laboratory head Māris Šinka. 

«This is the largest object we have created so far, which confirms that since the establishment of the laboratory in Latvia in spring of 2021, not only have technology and materials advanced, but also know-how and a team with various competences, which is necessary to create increasingly large parts and more important 3D concrete objects. At the same time, this is still a learning and research process, » said M. Šinka. 

Students and scientists now have a new challenge – to create an even bigger sculpture of a sitting LabLab. 

The sculpture was created with the support of RTU Science and Innovation Center Design Factory program «RTU Student Innovation Grants» (ERAF co-financed project No. 

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12th of December, 2023 at 12:40

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