New 3D printing software by Bartlett tested on a prototype piece of furniture.
Bartlett’s Design Computation Lab, part of the University College London designed a new 3D-printing software that designs using only one continuous line of material, whereas most current 3D printing procedures involve creating forms layer by layer.
This software was tested in this intricate 3D printed chair, named as Voxel Chair v1.0 and built by a robot that extrudes melted plastic into the air, where it quickly sets as it cools.
The new software has several functional benefits, it not only enables the creation of more complex patterns but also allows designers to create lighter, more efficient forms without using any more material than is necessary for load bearing.
This new program can also be used for the design of large-scale meta-materials, offering designers the opportunity to work directly with incredible amounts of data.
“Instead of designing the form of the chair, you design the behaviours and properties of the material directly.”
The Voxel Chair v1.0 is the result of the team’s attempt to create a prototype piece of furniture. Made from transparent, biodegradable PLA plastic with a blue tint, the chair is modeled on the iconic S-shaped Panton chair by Danish designer Verner Panton.
DCL likes working with this chair shape because as well as being instantly recognizable, it has a “challenging” cantilever geometry. But where the original chair is solid plastic, DCL‘s is a complex web of hollows created by a robot extruding plastic in one continuous 2.36-kilometer line.
“This may look like a Panton chair, but it’s actually completely different,” said the designers. “The Panton chair was a pure surface, optimised to mould. This chair is the opposite: a cloud-like volume, optimised for robotic extrusion.”