Posts tagged with "3D Printing":
How Synthesis Design + Architecture and Formlabs crafted this year’s Best of Design Awards Grand Prize
At this year’s Best of Design Awards, winners were selected from 27 categories and each will take home a bespoke AN awards 3-D-printed trophy designed by Los Angeles studio Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) and fabricated by Somerville, Massachusetts–based printers Formlabs.
Founder and design principal of SDA and an assistant professor at the USC School of Architecture, Alvin Huang and his team settled on a final design after initially drafting up more than 20 ideas.
“We wanted to create an intricate, detailed form—something that would be impossible to do without a 3-D printer,” Huang said. To produce the design, Formlabs used transparent resin to reveal the design’s inner complexities. As part of his design process, Huang devised numerous iterations. “Parametric modeling makes everything smoother,” continued Huang.
The original design intent explored three-dimensional line drawings using modeling software such as Rhino and Grasshopper. However, after a number of tests, Huang ruled out this technique because of the laborious quantities of support material that were required to print. Instead, he employed a process that explored the variable scaling and extrusion of 2-D text to create a cloud of 3-D forms.
“It was important due to the time constraints that we revise the design of the trophy to match the constraints of the printing process of the machine. The change in direction allowed us to drastically reduce the amount of waste material printed (in the form of support structure) as well as the printing and post-production time,” Huang said.
The technique capitalized on the vertical movement of the material through the 3-D printer, enabling the detailed, intricate geometries of the individual letters to collectively form the trophy. The variable parameters that drove the model were the height of the extrusions, the scaling of the letters, and the density of the underlying matrix.
Huang was also pleased to work with Formlabs, which will be producing the physical award. The studio’s high-resolution 3-D printers made Huang’s design, in his words, “easy to achieve” and “smoothed out the processing of the designs.”
Zach Frew of Formlabs said, “We wanted to push the limits of 3-D printing with Synthesis’s design. This means that we started with the highest level of complexity and iterated downward—evaluating any changes needed in the design after each print. 3-D printing allowed us to rapidly develop prototypes and progress towards the final design.”
Frew continued, explaining that Formlabs’ high-resolution printers allowed Huang creative freedom. “Traditional manufacturing techniques are restricted in the level of complexity and detail they can achieve. Older subtractive technologies like CNC tooling are unable to resolve intricate details or create complex internal structures.”
“Because 3-D printing is an additive technology that produces one layer at a time with precision, more complex geometries can be created,” he said. “Synthesis’s design takes advantage of this. The Form 2 [printer] offers a very high level of detail and precision that makes relational designs easier and more reliable to produce. The machine typically produces parts with less than 200 microns of deviation from the original model. This means that designers can be confident that their models will function and relate as designed. SLA printed parts are also much easier to sand and post-process so modifications can quickly be made.”
Despite its prowess in the niche field, Formlabs prints more than just trophies. “3-D printing excels at creating rapid prototypes and visualizations,” added Frew. “Architects are able to produce scale models of their designs and ensure that each of the parts interact as desired. Printing tangible models that previously only existed within design software is an invaluable tool for helping architects to evaluate and iterate on their designs.”
A high-performance building prototype which shares energy with a natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle.A cross-disciplinary team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have designed an innovative single-room building module to demonstrate new manufacturing and building technology pathways. The research project, named Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE), leverages rapid innovation through additive manufacturing, commonly known as ‘3d printing,’ to connect a natural-gas-powered hybrid electric vehicle to a high-performance building designed to produce, consume, and store renewable energy. The vehicle and building were developed concurrently as part of the AMIE project. The goal of AMIE was twofold according to Dr. Roderick Jackson, Group Leader of Building Envelope Systems Research and Project Lead for the AMIE project at ORNL: “First, how do we integrate two separate strains of energy: buildings and vehicles; and secondly, how do we use additive manufacturing as a way to create a framework for rapid innovation while not becoming constrained by the resources of today?” Additive manufacturing contributed to formal expression of the building envelope structure and offered efficiencies in material usage while significantly reducing construction waste. Jackson says the design and manufacturing process became embedded into the ‘rapid innovation’ spirit of the project. “The architects at SOM worked hand in hand with the manufacturing process, sharing the building model with the 3d printers in the same way that the vehicle shares power with building. For example, within the course of less than a week, between the manufacturer, the material supplier, the 3d printers, and the architects, we were able to work together to reduce the print time by more than 40%.” In total, the AMIE project – from research, through design, manufacturing, and assembly – took 9 months. The building incorporates low-cost vacuum insulated panels into an additively manufactured shell, printed in 2’ widths in half ring profiles, assembled at Clayton Homes, the nation’s largest manufactured home builder. The vacuum insulated panels consist of Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) with 20% carbon fiber reinforcement, a material which serves as a “starting point” for Jackson and his team: “We wanted to open up the door for people to say ‘what if?’ What if we used a non-traditional material to construct a building? I see this product as a ‘gateway.’ This might not be the final material we’ll end up using to construct buildings in the future. We’ll need to find locally available materials and utilize more cost-saving techniques. But we had to start somewhere. The ABS product will open the door for a conversation.” The project emerged out of fundamental questions concerning access to, and use of energy. Climate change, an increasing demand for renewable energy sources, and uncertainty in the balance of centralized versus distributed energy resources all impact the grid. In addition, more than 1.3 billion people worldwide have no access to an electric grid, and for an additional billion people, grid access is unreliable. AMIE will doubly function in the near future as an educational showcase to both the public who will learn of its story, and ORNL researchers who will continue to monitor how energy is generated, used, and stored. Will there be an AMIE 2.0? Jackson responds: “We don’t look at this as a one hit wonder. We really want this research to be the first stone thrown in the water that causes a ripple throughout the disciplines involved. Not only for us, but throughout the world. We want to put this out there so other smart people can look at it and brainstorm. If the end of the next project looks anything like AMIE 1.0, then we’ve missed the boat.”