Blog

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Creating scale models of precast concrete tanks with 3D printed moulds

Ronan Walsh

Introduction and requirements

Usually, a specific wastewater project will require multiple of the same, or different tank sizes, to be connected in an array. We produce more than twenty individual tank types (the most comprehensive range in Ireland), in sizes from 850 litres to 38,000 litres (the largest two-piece tank in the country).

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Lately we looked at options, to see if there was a way we could produce miniature scale models of our precast concrete tanks for demonstration purposes at customer offices or trade exhibitions. This would be in addition to detailed computer-aided design illustrations and models, arranging visits to our production facilities, and in-person project site visits.

For these miniature scale models to be a helpful aid in demonstrating our precast concrete tanks to our customers, we set out the following requirements:

  • Materials used to give a realistic impression of an actual precast concrete tank

  • Scaled to a size to ensure that: important details of the tanks are represented, amount of space required in an office to show the models is minimal, and each tank model is set at the same scale to allow for side by side comparisons

  • Additional miniature models of the precast concrete tanks can be reproduced as required

Process

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After some research and procurement of materials, the process below was followed:

1. Drafted a scaled design of each of our moulds using CAD software

2. 3D printed moulds using a 3D printer and specialist materials

3. Sprayed each mould with a sealant

4. Cut and drilled a base for each mould out of perspex

5. Coated the inside of each mould with white petrolatum to act as a release agent

6. Used a specific mix of fibre reinforced concrete to fill these moulds

7. Tanks were released from moulds after a delay period for initial setting of concrete

8. Steps five, six and seven were repeated to make a number of models for each tank


Results

Here are photographs of some of the scale models of our precast concrete tanks. We plan to use these as part of customer demonstrations and to create additional scale models following a similar process.

Drawings of the actual full size tanks we produce and use in our systems are available on our precast concrete tanks product page.

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You can compare these to photos of actual tanks that you will see throughout our website on our product and projects pages. If you have any questions, please let us know.