Manufacturing example: Facade tool


All eyes on individuality

FIT is a synonym for the fascination of progress. We embody this at our AM Campus in Lupburg. Here we pursue the goal of bringing together people with innovative ideas and state-of-the-art technology in order to achieve measurable progress together. However, since this usually cannot be achieved in one day, we have built a boarding house with 48 trendy apartments on the site, which offers customers, guests and employees space for comfortable overnight stays and relaxed meetings.

The facade of our boarding house was to be assigned a look that was as individual as possible without, however, exceeding the limits of the budget. Together with architects Berschneider + Berschneider and Verotech, a subsidiary of the world's leading facade manufacturer STO, our product designers created a unique outer facade excelling by a distinctive pattern. This was made possible by an additively manufactured special tool.


Individuality begins with design

What is at the core of 3D printing? The triangle. It is the smallest three-dimensional shape and the basis of all additive manufacturing data models. By linking the individual triangles at their vertices, a mesh structure is created. It is the source of inspiration for the crystal-like relief cavities that ornate on the Boarding House facade. These crystals were developed in a total of three variants, each differing in size and geometry.

Through an intentionally random arrangement of the different crystals, various sample patterns were created, from which four final motifs were selected. To ensure that the more than 3,000 facade panels covering the Boarding House's outer facade harmoniously form a homogeneous whole, the FIT designers developed a blueprint defining the sequence ifs panels.


From prototype to installed facade

Since additive manufacturing of the crystals was significantly cheaper than conventional milling, the individual aluminum inserts were produced by laser melting (laser melting or PBF-LB/M). The parts were then blasted, ground flat and filled with PU foam. By inserted threads, they could then be mounted on press plates.

From these plates, initial test pressings were carried out at Verotech and trial samples were produced. Once the final production process had been defined and approved of at STO, the final press plates were mounted to the standard facade molds and production started.

To this goal, the mold was placed in a frame and covered with the powdered facade material. The material was then pressed, which imprinted the relief into the facade panel’s surface. Finally, the panels were kiln-fired and delivered as-is to the construction site. After the panels were installed, they received their final coat of black paint. Together with the golden balconies, they give the cubic building its extraordinary appearance.


The special process requirements

The particular challenge in this project was to bridge the gap between the client's individualization requirements and the possibilities of industrial facade production in order to meet the strict cost and quality specifications. FIT succeeded in this by developing an additively manufactured special tool. This made it possible to

  • create a unique facade design
  • to produce a cost-effective tool for individual facade elements
  • to ensure the fast and economical production of the panels and
  • to realize a large facade surface.

Are you also looking for a special tool for your application? Then contact us. Together we will find a solution making good use of our solution of Rapid tooling.

Send request >
Contact us >

How to get your special tool




Feasibility check
We discuss your individual initial situation and objectives with you. On this basis, we develop a recommendation for the production of the mold for you.
You will receive concrete recommendations for necessary adjustments to your design as well as information on manufacturing costs and times.
Tool design
Based on your drawing or your CAD data, our experts design a tool that can be additively manufactured quickly and cost-effectively.

If desired, we will also develop a new design for your tool.
A production-ready data set for 3D printing is created.
Tool production
We manufacture the tool from the desired material using the appropriate 3D printing process (including any necessary post-processing), pack it securely for transport and send it to the location of your choice.
You have a ready-to-use tool at hand.
Quality assurance during the process
If required, we carry out a quality inspection during production according to your specifications.
You are handed out the corresponding quality certificates.

Facts about the facade tool

FIT solution:Rapid Tooling (special tools)
Scope of services:Tool design
Additive manufacturing and post-processing of inserts
Assembling of pressing tools
Project duration:6 months (from idea to installed facade)
Dimensions part 1:177 x 91 x 65 mm (big crystal)
Lot size 1:12 pieces
Dimensions part 2:112 x 70 x 44 mm (medium crystal)
Lot size 2:32 pieces
Dimensions part 3:64 x 43 x 38 mm (small crystal)
Lot size 3:40 pieces
Material (tool manufacturing):Aluminum (AlSi10Mg)
Technology (tool manufacturing):Laser melting (PBF-LB/M)
Flat grinding
PU foaming of the molds (incl. threaded hole)

This might also be interesting:



Why does a guest house need an individual facade?

Learn more >

Drilling jig

How additive design revives an old tool.

Learn more >
Christian Thaler

Your contact person

Christian Thaler
Industry specialist art and architecture

+49 9492 9429 200

E-Mail >