FIT 3D-prints lustrous altarpiece

FIT Additive Manufacturing Group 3D-prints lustrous, 8-meter high altarpiece

(Lupburg, 2019-05-17) Over the past few months, the FIT Additive Manufacturing Group facilities saw the genesis of an outstanding piece of sacred art which now is the highlight in the sanctuary of St. Laurentius in Altmühldorf, a small parish in idyllic Upper Bavaria, Germany. The so-called retable was 3D-printed to stand up to a height of 8 meters behind the altar. Its complex 3D-lattice structure is as impressive as its golden color. The project shows a fascinating convergence of historic and contemporary sacred art.

When St. Laurentius in Altmühldorf had to be completely renovated, the parish made a daring decision: The sanctuary was to be thoroughly modernized. This was achieved through the cooperation of three parties: The German artist duo EMPFANGSHALLE, represented by Michael Gruber and Corbinian Böhm, was commissioned to develop the spectacular concept of the renovation with the 3D-printed retable as its centerpiece. Architect Oliver Tessin, a renowned specialist for Computational Design, created the design for the elaborate 3D data model. And FIT Additive Manufacturing Group took on the task of manufacturing the unique piece.

Huge challenges
FIT had to face several hard-to-manage challenges. Manufacture of a sacred piece of art is clearly is not an every-day job, not even for a specialist manufacturer like FIT who sees one-of-a-kind 3DP objects every day. But this project posed two unknown challenges: Firstly, the retable is 8 m high and 2.5 m wide - untested dimensions for a lattice structure so far. Secondly, the piece had to have a golden, magical shine.

Every step required an innovative process
First, the digital data model was sliced into 60 different single parts requiring the definition of more than 2,000 individual connections between the segments. Manufacturing the segments with SLS machines using polyamide PA12 took 120 machine days, a matter of three weeks given FIT‘s vast SLS machine capacity. The segments were then metal-coated with a sophisticated, tailor-made process of thermal spraying. A special bronze alloy gives the structure its matte-golden color as well as an added stability. One especially demanding phase was the assembly of the 60 parts by bonding the 2,000 connectors by hand to form a homogenous and durable construction.

FIT is the right partner for accomplishing innovative projects
"At FIT we are predestined to demanding projects. From additive design to a broad variety of 3D printing technologies with high capabilities and to professional finishing options, we have perfected our ability to lead innovative projects to a successful end. We are proud to have the necessary competencies to respond to the special challenges of every single project", describes Bruno Knychalla, head of large format AM at FIT and project manager. EMPFANGSHALLE‘s Michael Gruber adds, "We are happy to have found in FIT Additive Manufacturing Group a competent partner for the manufacturing challenges. The technical know-how was only topped by an extraordinary personal involvement of all participants. We are overjoyed to see the impressive result."

About FIT Additive Manufacturing Group:
The FIT Additive Manufacturing Group is an international leading industry partner in the field of Additive Manufacturing. As a technology pioneer with around 25 years of experience, the company manufactures prototypes, production tools, 3D printed spare parts, as well as additively manufactured end components for a rich variety of verticals. The AM expert makes the entire chain of 3D printing available, from additive design and engineering through to production and professional finishing options. In addition, FIT also provides numerous conventional technologies such as CNC-milling, injection molding, vacuum casting, or elastomer manufacturing. Group revenue in 2018 was around EUR 25 million. FIT Additive Manufacturing Group currently employs 280 people, most of them at the company‘s headquarters in Lupburg, Germany, but also in Brasov (Romania), Zhukovsky (Russian Federation), as well as in Nagoya (Japan), and Peoria (USA).

EMPFANGSHALLE (literally "the lobby") is the name of a German performing art duo, founded by Corbinian Böhm and Michael Gruber in Munich (Germany) in 1995. Society is at the heart of their art projects, their works are mostly presented in the open, especially in popular places.

About Studio Tessin:
Studio Tessin is a research-oriented studio on the intersection of architecture, engineering and art. The main interest of the founder Oliver Tessin is the conceptual development and realisation of complex structures, using Computational Design Processes and Additive Manufacturing. Please find a detailed project description, at

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Press contact at FIT Additive Manufacturing Group:
Dr. Elisabeth Bauer
FIT Additive Manufacturing Group
Am Grohberg 1
92331 Lupburg

Phone: +49 (0) 9492 9429 43
Fax: +49 (0) 9492 9429 11

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