How 3D Printing Is Providing Building Enclosure Engineered Solutions for Fenestration Testing

June 30, 2021

3D printing custom pieces If you have ever worked on a project involving water penetration testing of doors, windows, curtain walls, or similar systems, you know that the challenges faced in terms of equipment, difficult transitions, and interfaces can be overwhelming. Manufactured spray racks that use pre-assembled components have their place in the market; however, high cost, low durability, limited configurations, and lack of availability of special components significantly limit the effectiveness of these assemblies. On the other hand, low material cost, highly customizable spray racks are labor-intensive to fabricate and utilize off-the-shelf low durability fittings and connections.

Image 1: Modeled components for Spray Rack Assembly

Image 1: Modeled components for Spray Rack Assembly

To provide an assembly that overcomes the challenges presented, Terracon began exploring the possibility of designing a spray rack assembly using readily available low-cost parts for the majority of the spray rack with highly specialized durable components. This approach would provide the efficiency of manufactured spray racks, with the low cost and flexibility of custom rack fabrications.

The process began by seeking the knowledge, experience, and perspective of Terracon field testing specialists. From these discussions, a list was created of components that were difficult to acquire, prone to malfunction or damage, or which did not regularly perform as intended. The next step was to design specialized replacement components that could be quickly fabricated at a low unit cost (Image 1). As 3D printing is readily available and can fabricate components for a very low cost, studies were first performed to digitally model components that would improve durability and performance. Next, the digital models were optimized for rapid prototyping and produced via Fused Filament Fabrication.

Through this process, seven specialized components including an innovative quick-connect assembly (Image 2) were developed that provide Terracon the unique ability to fabricate highly customizable, durable, and safe spray rack equipment not available anywhere in the industry.

Image 2: Quick Connect Assembly

Image 2: Quick Connect Assembly

The end product allows us to quickly configure our spray rack assemblies to meet varying fenestration conditions, perform rapid in-field repairs and adjustments, and adapt according to the project requirements to meet our clients’ needs.

Ryan Daugherty

Ryan Daugherty, RRO, REWO, CIT, sUAS Pilot is a senior facilities professional in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office. Certified as a roof and exterior wall observer, a Level I Thermographer, and a FAA sUAS remote pilot, Ryan has an extensive 21 years of experience in restoration, construction, estimating, and facility building enclosure consulting and testing.



Mike Phifer Michael Phifer, RBEC manages the facilities engineering group in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office. Michael has spent more than 10 years focusing on evaluation, design, and quality assurance services related to roofing and building enclosures.

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