How 3D Rapid Prototyping Builds Stadiums

Date: February 28, 2024

Stadiums are central to many cities as they are the hub for amazing events, whether they are sports victories, political announcements or entertainment venues. These modern multi-function giant structures, such as Wembley in London, Saitama in Japan, and AT&T in Texas, often host large events, so architects have created them to blend harmoniously with their cities.

However, this is only possible when they rely on the designs and materials; this is where rapid prototyping for metal casting is especially useful. Read on to discover how our prototyping service for metal casting helps architects fulfil their vision efficiently and safely.

football stadium with metal castings

Steel Castings  in Football Stadiums

Investment casting, along with other metal casting processes, is extensively used for a broad range of components in multi-functional stadiums. These elements might be as noticeable as enhancing the aesthetics with custom panelling and decorative elements or as subtle as the construction of components for thousands of seats. However, one area where metal casting makes the largest impact is the actual construction of the building itself.

Resorting to industrial metal forging to create the foundational steel beams is common in building construction, but architects are constantly looking for other ways to work with metal foundries to improve their designs.

Stadiums That Incorporate Metal Casting in Their Design

The versatility and dependability of the various casting processes have encouraged many architects to create previously impossible designs for these impressive landmarks. Here are two examples of projects that have relied heavily on metal-cast components.

The Dongguan Basketball Stadium in China

The basketball stadium in Dongguan, China, has significant elements of its design built with metal cast parts. Realised by GMP Architects, this is a landmark addition to the district of Liaobu and houses nearly 15,000 visitors. There are several unique design elements to the structure, with the external lattice around its circumference standing out as an excellent example of metal casting for stadiums. The roof structure is 157 metres across and is suspended on 28 vertical ribbons that are spaced across this external lattice. This creates a network of triangles out of high-strength cables and cast metal support nodes with windows in between.

The Puskás Aréa: a  Multi-Functional Sports Stadium in Hungary

The Puskás Aréa stadium in Budapest, Hungary, has an extensive façade covering its exterior consisting of a stainless steel mesh. This apparently seamless mesh is made up of 229 separate panels measuring 4m wide and 29m long and weighing almost 100kg each. To guarantee public safety whilst maintaining the desired aesthetic, the architects chose a TF-60 fixing system to mount the panels securely. This form of fixing system has components, such as eyebolts and rods, that need to be manufactured in stainless steel with die casting.

These subtle but vital components need to be made to a consistently high quality, despite the large volume of parts to fulfil the requirements of such a large application, a goal that pressure die casting is perfectly suited for. Similar in concept, TF-60 fixings are used to mount other exterior elements of other multi-function stadiums, such as the Music Conservatory in Gonesse, France and the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba in Brazil.

metal cast architecture

Other Architectural Metal Castings

It's not just multi-functional stadiums that benefit from metal casting; general architecture has also embraced our work for exciting and innovative designs, with one prime example being our recent work to help create the cloud cities of Barcelona.

Our contribution to this architectural metal casting project was to cast thousands of nodes with a planned range consisting of 12 design variations. These components needed to be machined to meet the required tolerances as they were used to connect a network of hanging wire and metal platforms throughout a glass structure overlooking Barcelona. This public venue had to meet a lot of requirements, similar to a stadium, as it was a large public space, and any failure in the nodes would put people in danger.

The key to the efficiency of metal casting projects with architects and the guaranteed success of the cast components is creating a detailed development process where every stage is explored in detail before committing to casting. This is especially vital when working with unique projects such as architectural innovations, and we encourage our clients to invest in our unique prototyping service.

cloud cities of Barcelona

What Is 3D Rapid Prototyping for Metal Casting?

With all the varied specifications across these few projects alone, each designer needs to be confident in the success of their parts before committing to construction. Fortunately, we have a process at Dean Group that supports successful designs and guarantees an efficient manufacturing process later; it's called 3D rapid casting prototyping.

After an initial consultation, our expert team works with your created CAD files to digitally review designs and create simulations to predict the success of the later castings accurately but without the associated costs or risks. We also have developed an industrial-grade 3D wax printing room with a thermojet printer that will create accurate prototypes of your design for your review.

These physical representations are quick to create and make the review process far more effective. As each prototype will refine the design further until it is perfected,  we can confidently commit to tooling and casting, knowing that the created components fulfil every need of your architectural design.

3D wax printing for metal casting

Innovative Metal Castings from Dean Group

We take great pride in the casting processes we’ve developed over the past 50 years, as well as the architectural projects we have participated in. Our investment casting services are covered under ISO 9001 and our BSI (the British Standards Institution) accreditation, ensuring that our high standards are maintained during commissioned castings and fulfil the stringent requirements of architectural designs.

Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can help you with your next application, or read our case studies to learn about more of our successful projects.

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