Posts tagged with "3D Printing":

Placeholder Alt Text

Meet MUPPette, Gensler’s marriage of 3D printing and unmanned drones

Two of the most talked about new technologies in our world today—3D printing and unmanned drones—are beginning to merge. A good example: Mobile 3D Printing, a research project in Gensler's Los Angeles office attempting to create an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) fully capable of digital fabrication—freeing the technology from the constraints of boxes, robotic arms, and X-Y-Z axes. Young Gensler architects Tam Tran and Jared Shier are spearheading the effort. Their vehicle's name—MUPPette—stands for Mobile Unmanned Printing Platform. It consists of a carbon composite hexacopter,consisting of six blades, a gimbal beneath to stabilize the printer, and the battery-powered printer itself below, enabled with PLA plastic filament, the same material used in Makerbots and other fabrication machines. When the copter, controlled via laptop, takes off, its legs retract, allowing for more maneuverability. It can shoot out a relatively limited amount of PLA and can fly for about ten minutes at a time. The project concluded its first year this spring, and the group recently received a second grant to hone the concept for another year. Improvements that the team wants to work out include adding sonar sensors to make real time flight and stabilization adjustments, adding localized GPS for greater precision, addressing the impact of blades' wind currents on the PLA projection, and teaming the vehicle with others for more efficient and complex fabrication. "It's been exciting, exhilarating, and agonizing at the same time," said Shier. "Unless you try to solve the problems you're not advancing the technology." In the future—perhaps in a third year for the project—the group hopes to advance the technology to take on construction, which could be especially useful for producing humanitarian structures or for producing buildings in areas cut off from conventional modes of transit. Mobile 3D Printing is one of over 50 research projects funded firm-wide by Gensler. "This is a frontier that we clearly hadn't entered into before," said Tran. "We want to see what can be done."
Placeholder Alt Text

Shanghai Company 3-D Prints Village of Humble Concrete Homes

A Shanghai building company has erected a small village of pitched-roof, 3-D printed structures—in about a day. WinSun Decoration Design Engineering Co is behind the series of humble buildings, a fully fabricated unit is expected to cost less than $5,000. The homes were created through the use of a 490- by 33- by 20-foot 3-D printer that fabricates the basic components required for assembly. Rather than plastic, the machine behind these structures spits out layer upon layer of concrete made in part from recycled construction waste, industrial waste, and tailings. WinSun intends to construct 100 factories that will harness such waste in order to generate their affordable "ink," which is also reinforced with glass fibers. Purists will note that the WinSun productions are not 3-D printed structures in the traditional sense. Rather than projects like these, or the contour crafting processes championed by USC Professor Berokh Khoshnev, the Shanghai homes are not printed on site layer by layer. Instead they are composites of 3-D printed parts that require human intervention in order to be assembled into something resembling a house. WinSun estimates that their methods can cut construction costs in half and sees the potential for "affordable and dignified housing" for the impoverished.
Placeholder Alt Text

An Impossible Stair by NEXT Architects

A folly in a Rotterdam suburb draws on residents' complex relationship with the city.

The residents of Carnisselande, a garden suburb in Barendrecht, the Netherlands, have a curious relationship with Rotterdam. Many of them work in the city, or are otherwise mentally and emotionally connected to it, yet they go home at night to a place that is physically and visually separate. When NEXT architects was tapped to build a folly on a hill in the new town, they seized on this apparent contradiction. “This suburb is completely hidden behind sound barriers, highways, totally disconnected from Rotterdam,” said NEXT director Marijn Schenk. “We discovered when you’re on top of the hill and jump, you can see Rotterdam. We said, ‘Can we make the jump into an art piece?’” NEXT designed The Elastic Perspective, a staircase based on the Möbius strip. “The idea of the impossible stair [is] you’re not able to continue your trip. At first it seems to be a continuous route, but once you’re up there, the path is flipping over,” explained Schenk. “That’s a reference to the feeling of the people living there.” To catch a glimpse of Rotterdam, users must turn their backs on Carnisselande. Yet while the view is in one sense the destination, the staircase ends where it started, in the reality of the garden suburb. NEXT began by experimenting with strips of paper and thin sheets of steel to form the staircase’s basic shape. The architects then turned to AutoCad, where they finalized the design before 3D printing a 1:200 scale model. NEXT worked with engineers at ABT throughout the process. They relied heavily on 3D design software, Schenk said, “because all the steel was sort of double-curved.”
  • Fabricator Mannen van Staal
  • Designers NEXT architects
  • Location Carnisselande, Barendrecht, Netherlands
  • Date of Completion June 2013
  • Material Cor-ten steel
  • Process modeling, AutoCad, CNC milling, bending, hand welding, cutting, robot welding
Mannen van Staal fabricated the staircase from seven steel panels custom-cut with a CNC machine, said project architect Joost Lemmens. They bent the plates, largely by hand, and assembled the entire structure in their factory, temporarily welding the pieces together. They then disassembled the structure for transport to the site, where the components were re-welded by hand and using a vacuum-cleaner-sized robot. Cor-ten was a practical choice on the one hand because the rust obscures the stitches used to reconnect the seven panels. In addition, said Schenk, “It’s weatherproof, and sustainable in the sense that we’re not using a toxic coating.” The choice of Cor-ten also holds aesthetic and cultural meaning. The orange of the staircase contrasts with the green of the hill. Plus, “it’s a material quite often used in artworks, so of course it refers to the work of Richard Serra [and others],” said Schenk. “I think in short what it’s about is the idea of making a jump, make people be able to make a jump to see the skyline of the city,” he concluded. “We’re using the Möbius strip to express the ambiguity of the people living there: feeling connected to Rotterdam but being somewhere else.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Among the Sequoias, a 3D-Printed Refuge by Smith|Allen

Smith|Allen's 3D-printed forest refuge is inspired by the site's patterning and historical cycle of deforestation and regeneration.

When Brian Allen and Stephanie Smith first visited the sequoia forest in Gualala, California, they saw patterns everywhere. “We were really intrigued by patterning at many scales, from bark on the trees to light through the trees and also, at a micro scale, [the cells of] the sequioas,” said Allen. Two months later the pair was back, this time with 580 sculptural bricks forming the world’s first 3D-printed architectural installation. Translucent white and 10 by 10 by 8 feet in size, Echoviren resembles a cross between a teepee and a tree stump, a mass made light by the organic porosity of the bricks. Echoviren is intimately tied to its site on the grounds of Project 387, the residency in which Smith|Allen participated last fall. Besides the sequioas’ patterning, the designers drew inspiration from the primitiveness of their surroundings. “The overall form was driven by what is the most basic space we could make,” said Allen. “It turns [out to be] just a small oblong enclosure with an oculus, a small forest hermitage.” The oculus draws the eye up, to the natural roof formed by the sequioas’ branches. In addition, Smith|Allen address the history of the site as a place where regrowth followed the trauma of deforestation. Built of bio-plastic, Echoviren has an estimated lifespan of 30-50 years. “The 50 year decomposition is a beautiful echo of that cycle” of deforestation and resurgence, said Allen. Smith|Allen took a flexible approach to Echoviren’s design, alternating between analog and digital tools. They used tracing paper to extract patterns from photographs of sequoia cells, then trimmed and propagated the patterning by hand. “We initially tried to do it parametrically in Grasshopper, to replicate that cell structure as a generative tool, but we weren’t getting good results,” explained Allen. “For us, the parametric tools were more of a tool set than a generator.” 
  • Fabricator Smith|Allen
  • Designers Smith|Allen
  • Location Gualala, California
  • Date of Completion August 2013
  • Material plant-based PLA bio-plastic, silicon adhesive
  • Process drawing, tracing, 3D printing, Illustrator, Rhino, Grasshopper, KISSlicer, snap fit, gluing, digging
Smith|Allen used KISSlicer to estimate the time required to print Echoviren, 10,800 hours in all. The designers ran seven consumer-grade Type A Machines Series 1 desktop 3D printers for two months straight. They used plant-based PLA bio-plastic, which in addition to being biodegradable, is also readily available. “We wanted to use something commercially available and easy to get our hands on,” said Allen. “The project was not about using inaccessible materials; accessibility gave us the tools to do this.” On-site assembly took four hours. Echoviren is a snap fit system, with dovetail joints in the XY and a pin and socket in the Z. Silicon adhesive secures each layer of bricks to the next. The bottom ring of bricks nestles within a hand-dug trench. Pyramidal in section, Echoviren is a compression structure. Its components vary in thickness from 6-8 inches at the bottom to less than an inch at the top. For Smith and Allen, the magic of Echoviren is twofold. First is the anticipation of the future, of the way the form will change as it decomposes. Just as important is how the installation came to be, how the technology of 3D printing enabled a firm of two to build Echoviren in less than a season. “As young designers, we struggle with getting our work out there and getting it built,” said Allen. “Using 3D printers, we’re able to really increase the amount of stuff we can do in a given time and transition it from a tool of prototyping and model building into real things.”
Placeholder Alt Text

Makerbot debuts three new 3D printers

In a press conference helmed by CEO Bre Pettis, 3D Printer manufacturers Makerbot revealed three new printers set to become commercially available in the near future. The announcement came as a part of CES, the annual consumer electronics and technology trade show currently taking place in Las Vegas. Among the products launched is the Z18, a larger machine capable of producing objects that are up to 12 inches wide and 18 inches long. The launch represents Makerbot's latest attempt at reaching the entire spectrum of the 3D printer consumer market. The Z18 is joined by the Mini, the cheapest of the machines, tailored for ease of use, and a 5th generation update of their Replicator model. The printers feature built-in cameras and LCD displays that allow for external monitoring of internal building as it progresses. While their various functionalities are accompanied by differing price points, even the least expensive product in the line will retail for well over $1,000. Makerbot is quickly rising to the fore of the 3D printing market. Pettis claimed that over 44,000 of his machines are currently in use around the world. Along with the new printers, the Brooklyn-based company also announced plans for a digital store where designs can be purchased and downloaded were also announced. While the Replicator can already be ordered, the other two models are expected to be purchasable sometime this Spring.
Placeholder Alt Text

At SCI-Arc, the Magic is Inside the Box; Eric Owen Moss Explains Why

“Actually, the box isn’t magic, so don’t be disappointed you didn’t get ahold of Merlin the Magician,” Eric Owen Moss said at the start of a recent interview. Moss, director of the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), was referring to the school’s new digital fabrication lab. Dubbed the Magic Box, the two-story, prefabricated steel structure will be constructed at the south end of the SCI-Arc building. But Moss didn’t want to focus on the laboratory itself, which was designed by several architects affiliated with SCI-Arc (including Moss's own firm). Instead, he said, “the game is, what’s inside is magic. It’s not so much the object, but what the object contains." The Magic Box will house state-of-the-art tools for digital prototyping and fabrication, including CNC machines and 3D printers. Together with a remade Analog Fabrication Shop and the existing Robotics Lab, the Magic Box will be a key component of the school’s new RAD (Robot House, Analog Shop, and Digital Fabrication Lab) Center. According to Moss, the Center is designed to teach students how to interrogate the technologies and materials they encounter. “SCI-Arc is not interested in producing people who can just go into an office and use digital tools,” he explained. “We’re interesting in producing students who have a critical and intellectual perspective on this.” As an example of the kind of creative discovery he expects will take place inside the Magic Box, Moss cited the school’s Robot House, the 1,000-square-foot laboratory comprising a five-robot workroom and a Simulation Lab. “Robots are usually used in [a chronological sequence], but we don’t use them that way,” Moss said. “The robots evolve: as the program changes, the robots start to do something else.” He also pointed to the history of CATIA, visualization software originally marketed to aerospace engineers but now in widespread use among architects. “A lot of these [digital] tools have been made by other characters that may have different motives,” Moss explained. “We want to make sure that the imaginative motive is introduced as part of the [architect’s] education.” In the end, Moss said, the new workspace at SCI-Arc is named the Magic Box to reflect the optimistic spirit in which it is being introduced. That storyline will begin next spring, when construction on the Magic Box starts. The 4,000-square-foot space is expected to be ready for students at the opening of the 2014-15 school year.
Placeholder Alt Text

MAD Museum gets Out of Hand

A cross-section of postdigital design work illustrates the role of parametrics in the built environment.

Spawned from his 2011 show on Patrick Jouin, Museum of Arts & Design (MAD) curator Ronald Labaco conceived Out of Hand as a more comprehensive show that clarified the role of digital design, from its capabilities to its significance in our daily lives. “People just didn’t get it,” said Labaco of Jouin’s 2011 MAD show. “Unless you’re immersed in it, it can be hard to understand so I thought if we showed something like this in the galleries again, we needed to provide information that can be digested more clearly.” Staged across three floors of the museum, with two exterior sculptures, Labaco said the show is an important program for MAD among other New York art institutions like MoMA, Cooper Hewitt, and the New Museum. The goal to raise awareness of 3D printing is timely, by chance. “Paolo Antonelli’s Design and the Elastic Mind, and two shows from Material Connection were complements to my show for the uninitiated,” Labaco explained. Out of Hand’s broad scope includes digital designing and fabrication processes like CNC milling, digital weaving and knitting, laser cutting, and 3D printing to display how these technologies influence the built environment. “It’s a historical look at the last 8 years and works from as early as 2005 are incorporated because, in my mind, that was when the major shift between rapid prototyping and 3D printing really occurred,” said Labaco.
  • Curator Ronald Labaco
  • Location Museum of Arts & Design, New York
  • Date October 2013– July 2014
  • Materials ceramic, concrete, polyurethane, resin, PVC, metal, gypsum, wax, paper, wood, jacquard
  • Process water jet cutting, laser cutting, laser sintering, 3D printing, digital weaving
Organized in six themes, a cross-section of traditional methods and new design capabilities are illustrated by architects crafting art, artists doing design, and photographers making sculpture. Approximately half a dozen pieces were commissioned for the show while others were an extension of existing works: For example, a chair by Jan Habraken evolved into the more comprehensive Charigenics. Placards for each piece call out production methods, from 3D printing (10 materials are featured) to digital knitting, underscoring the multi-step creation process to make the point that digital design isn’t only press-and-print. And many of the show’s pieces are a combination of old-world handcrafting and newer digital geometries and computations. Pieces like Rapid Racer, Bosch’s 3D-printed vehicle fabricated over 10 days and weighing just 29 pounds, and Zaha Hadid’s Liquid Glacial "Smoke", a coffee table CNC-milled from polished plexiglass, illustrate the functional role of digital design. Data input is actively incorporated through two interactive pieces from Francios Brument, for which he developed his own scripting, as well as a Shapeways workshop that is open to the public. Traditional forms are realized by new methods in Nendo’s 3D-printed paper boxes that are lacquered with traditional urushi for a ringed faux bois. Other featured artists, architects, and designers include Richard DuPont, Greg Lynn, Anish Kapoor, Marc Newson, Frank Stella, Daniel Libeskind, and Maya Lin. Just as dynamic as the digital disciplines themselves, new pieces are being added throughout the show’s run. Look for a new piece from Iris Van Herpen by mid-November. Out of Hand will remain on view through July 6, 2014.
Placeholder Alt Text

Web-Based 3D Printing Hubs Make Everyone a Designer

The rise of 3D printing, the design and creation of objects using a material printer, is currently hindered by accessibility. Few own personal printers or know where to go to use one. However, according to Lara Piras of PSFK, commercially viable 3D printing is now a possibility with Netherlands-based 3D Hubs. The online company allows at-home designers to connect with locals who own 3D printers, arrange for payment for the printing of their creations, and then receive their material products, ideally without leaving their community. Co-founders Bram de Zwart and Brian Garret envision their system as a reinstatement of local production, a reaction to current globalization, which they believe paints laborers as “faceless links in a complex and obscure global process.” Their 3D printing hubs allow citizens to design products and then see their production, means and end, face-to-face. After uploading designs to the 3D Hubs website, at-home designers can search for 3D printer owners in their area, arrange for payment to print their designs, and then pick up the finished product a bike ride or short walk away.
Placeholder Alt Text

Meet Ronald Rael of Emerging Objects at Facades+PERFORMANCE San Francisco on 7/12!

We are excited to announce that Ronald Rael, founding partner of Emerging Objects, will join Ronnie Parsons of Mode Collective at our facades+ PERFORMANCE conference in San Francisco in less than two weeks! Emerging Objects is a pioneering 3D printing design and research company that reaches beyond using plastic and focuses on using innovative, sustainable, and recyclable materials—paper, nylon, salt, wood, clay, acrylic, and cement polymer—to create 3D printing objects for the built environment, including facade elements such as "The Wave Curtain." Facades+ Rael and Parsons will co-instruct the "Hands-On 3D Printing (Rhino3D/Makerbot)" Technology Workshop on July 12th. By registering for this full-day workshop participants will not only earn 8 LU AIA CE credits but they will also explore and discuss the differences between the various types of 3D printing technologies, including Fused Deposition Modeling and Stereolithography. This hands-on workshop presents professionals and students with a rare opportunity to develop and challenge their 3D printing skills and learn how to bring their unique digital models to life in the form of actual physical products. The emergence of the 3D printer has not only significantly transformed the fields of architecture, interior design, and product design but with the development of user-friendly, affordable 3D printers, it is revolutionizing the world one physical prototype at a time. 3D printing is a valuable skill that architects and engineers must learn if they want to remain on the cutting-edge of technology. Join Ronald Rael and Ronnie Parsons at facades+ PERFORMANCE as they delve into the world of 3D printing. Learn more about our workshops and register for the conference here! 
Placeholder Alt Text

In 3D-Printed Sugar

Fabrikator

A team of SCI-Arc–trained architects establish a sweet set up in Southern California.

Liz and Kyle Von Hasseln wanted to bake a birthday cake for a friend but, unfortunately, their rented apartment didn't have an oven. Not to be deterred, the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) alumni hit upon a solution that would leave most bakers scratching their heads: They decided to 3D print one. Earlier that year, the couple had been awarded the school's inaugural Gehry Prize for their work on Phantom Geometry, a 5-axis fabrication study of UV-cured resin within a shallow vat system that responded to real-time feed back and feed-forward mechanisms. "In our graduate work, we were really interested in the way free form fabrication would influence architecture," Kyle recently told AN. "We thought a lot about the potential for the intersection of culture and technology that would be accessible to the public, so printing sugar was that."
  • Fabricators Sugar Lab
  • Designers Liz and Kyle Von Hasseln
  • Location Los Angeles
  • Date of Completion 2012
  • Material sugar
  • Process Maya, 3D printing
The Von Hasselns began working on a combination of SCI-Arc machinery and printers they built themselves. The initial ambition to 3D-print the entire cake was scaled-back to 3D printing just a sparkling cake topper made only from sugar, a process that Liz likened to a micro architectural challenge. As with any material, working with sugar presented inherent propensities and limitations. However, Liz said the process of working with food had its own distinct challenges. "Because it's a food object, we've found it becomes important to consider those inherent characteristics," Liz said. "People have expectations about what food looks, tastes, and feels like, and its really important to hit those notes, otherwise you have a cool design that might not look like dessert." Once the designers embraced the inherent qualities of the material, they developed a proprietary 3D-printing process capable of fusing sugar crystals together without deforming or discoloring them. The finished product is as white and sparkling as a sugar cube. Though they missed the birthday by a long shot, the end result spelled their friend's name in a cursive scrawl made entirely from sugar. Sugar Lab, the Von Hasseln's company, has yet to build an entire town out of sugar like the utopian village brought to life by Richard Brautigan in his novel In Watermelon Sugar, but the couple has received hundreds of inquiries from around the world. They are also excited about the role of the designer in the 3D printing revolution. "We think what will move the field forward in the future is not solely additional technological enhancement, but how artists, architects, and designers utilize those capabilities," Liz said. "A 3D printer is a tool and what comes of skilled artisans wielding that tool is what will make the technology resonate with people, and make it culturally relevant."
Placeholder Alt Text

MIT Media Lab Enlists 6,500 Silkworms to 3D Print a Dome Pavilion

A new pavilion created by the Mediated Matter research group at MIT’s Media Lab explores the intersection between material technology, computation, and biological and digital fabrication on an architectural scale. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to create a 3D cocoon out of a single, 1 km thread, a team of researchers led by architect Neri Oxman created a fibrous, CNC-fabricated scaffold made from 26 polygonal panels and laid out in silk thread. They then let loose 6,500 silkworms onto the frame to fill in the gaps and reinforce the structure. The structure’s silk armature was created by an algorithm, based on site-specific solar trajectories and research on the worms’ behavior, which was then built upon by the worms’ on-site reaction to the structure’s geometries and environmental factors, including heat, light, and density. The worms were attracted to darker and denser areas, leaving a large aperture in the pavilion’s southeast side and producing some areas thicker than others. Mediated Matter’s research with the Silk Pavilion opens up new possibilities for the creation of functionally graded material objects (think the varied, porous interior of bone as opposed to the homogeneity of concrete), fibrous systems for the construction of habitable space, and bio-synthetic structures that are capable of interacting with heir environments. Like their (ideal) mechanical counterparts, these small, squishy 3D-printers can self-replicate. While the silkworms were removed from the pavilion before they could transform into moths, once they metamorphose, those 6,500 grubs could produce 1.5 million more, which in turn could construct 250 additional pavilions.