Custom 3D Printed Plastic Banisters Are on Their Way to a Stairway Near You

We see a lot of metal and concrete printing in the construction industry (mostly concrete), but we don't read about the use of plastics in construction very often.

We see a lot of metal and concrete printing in the construction industry (mostly concrete), but we don’t read about the use of plastics in construction very often. The only time we hear about it is when someone uses plastics as fillers in concrete.

If you are an architect who likes thermoplastics and the shapes that can be made with 3D printing, then you will be happy to know that German company UNIKAT.railings has launched a line of 3D printed railings made from plastic.

The startup has teamed up with Hans Weber Maschinenfabrik GmbH and the University of Applied Sciences in Münster to become one of the first startups to use large scale plastic printing in construction within Germany.

Each printed piece is at least 1 x 1 meter in size. The pieces are adapted to the installation situation together with the client using a 3D web configurator. You can see what that looks like in the pic below.

unikat configurator

Configurator (Image credit: UNIKAT.railings)

People can use a configurator to choose a pattern for their railing, and then input the dimensions of the stairs. The dimensions of a step include its height, width, and the other requirements for designing bannisters. The company website has a section that answers frequently asked questions. This section says that railings for straight stairs are currently available.

If you know the size of your stairs, the configurator will show you a 3D design of what they will look like as soon as you enter the parameters. You can also choose to go beyond the configurator and upload your own template.

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The stairs are printed with the Hans Weber machine using thermoplastic, and the surface finish can be completed to customer requirements.

When you walk up the stairs, it is important to make sure that the railing can hold your weight. You don’t want to fall over the side.

The company assures customers that their railings are safe. They are made to meet safety standards and certification in each country.

So what are the benefits of having a printed plastic railing?

Making railings, bannisters and balustrades from metal is a hard job that takes a lot of time. It would be even more time-consuming to make them in the same way as the UNIKAT railings.

wavey render

Wavey (Image credit: UNIKAT.railings)

The customisation permitted by the configurator and 3D printing, as well as the use of large printers from Hans Weber, makes it cheaper and faster to manufacture railings than with traditional methods.

3D printing makes manufacturing more efficient, which means it is more environmentally friendly. It’s a bonus that the process is 90% more efficient in terms of CO2.

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