For my project, I have decided to create a brutalism water wheel. With the brutalism aesthetic, the specifications I would like to meet are that it is as geometric as possible and also looks closely like concrete. My design will be driven by water being poured onto it from above (utilizing gravity to rotate it). An example picture of a water wheel made out a metal is shown below. This is the closest example to what I will be going for, but is still missing some key aspects of the brutalism aesthetic, so my design will look significantly different [1].

The size of my design will be similar to the scale shown above because I am restrained to the print bed size of the Lulzbot. I have decided to 3D print the majority of my project and not mold it out of concrete because I have determined that concrete will be too heavy of a material to rotate around considering the volume of water that I will be able to have flowing over it. I will be planning to have a square-profile pipe unlike the picture above or try integrating it will my grandmother’s waterfall pond, so that it can be both useful and visually appealing. I will be using a metal rod to support it, similar to the above photo, but will be adding two adjustable collars to either side so that I can adjust the friction applied to the wheel and therefore control the speed that it is rotating at (since I am unsure how fast or slow it will end up spinning with my water flow).

Below is a photo of my CAD for my water wheel.

It features nearly all geometric components and also has horizontal cutouts to simulate the cracks that can be seen in brutalism architecture when multiple pieces of concrete are put together. After 3D printing my parts, I will be mixing paints and adding textures into a coating, so that I can as closely as possible simulate the aesthetic look of concrete. Then, I will need to apply a waterproof coating.

Below is a picture of my timeline thus far. Based off this timeline, I have a lot of work still left to do, but I believe I should be able to get the project done and will have extra days to spare in order to account for any issues that come up. I also received good feedback from my critique, so will be taking a couple of my slack days in order to make some edits to my CAD before getting it printed.

My Design Preview Presentation and Critique Video:


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Brewster Beck von Peccoz
    April 9, 2023 11:23 pm

    Cool design idea! The concept of a peaceful water-wheel mixed with the brutalist aesthetic really makes for a cool contradiction. Excited to see how you achieve the concrete look with the printers.

  • Alexander Hernacki
    April 9, 2023 12:59 pm

    The hard angles and blocky forms of your design really sell the brutalist aesthetic. Have you considered the use of a stone or marble PLA to give your design the look of concrete without the weight?


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