Neri Oxman, a professor at the MIT Media Lab has produced a 6-inch cube sculpture “Making the Future” to illustrate the future of manufacturing. She recognizes too much limitations in conventional manufacturing and that limits the designers' mind too. There are some shapes that simply can't be built with existing molds and machining tools, but new 3D printing technology allows computers to build up structures using complex algorithms to make it possible to produce surprising shapes and structures. she believes that designers and architects can learn to take advantage of technology and expand their creativity.
Current materials, such as steel, are limited by their manufacturing techniques – certain designs and shapes simply aren’t possible given today’s methods. 3D printing, however, allows computers to build up structures using complex algorithms, meaning that utility components or other features can be imbedded directly into structural elements, and also allowing for unprecedented possibility in architectural design.
She has teamed up with materials science professor Carter to use equations that define the processes and patterns found in nature to generate new designs. The cube sculpture “Making the Future” is their latest work that shows the science behind.
(photo credit: technologyreview)
The algorithms that define the shape of the sculpture are based on natural processes. One is the unmixing of two fluids. At high temperatures, oil and vinegar, for example, become completely soluble, but as the solution cools, the two fluids start to separate.
"You write down a set of equations based on what you know about thermodynamics and the kinetics of materials, and the equations develop these structures that look like fluids separating," Carter says. The resulting sculpture looks as if that process has been frozen and a cube has been cut from the center of the liquids.
The team sent the CAD file of the final result from the algorithms to 3D printer manufacturer Objet to print the cube. Watch the process in the video below. This is a good illustration of their approach to design.
What is their next step? Oxman says the next phase of 3D printing technology will be printing new building materials or even building to revolutionize architecture.
Oxman's MIT laboratory is developing the next generation of 3D printer which could print large concrete structure for new buildings. "The new robotic system is being designed to be able to vary the density of the concrete, making it possible to use dense, strong concrete where it's needed for support, and lightweight, porous concrete for non-load bearing walls, to save on materials costs." it may even be possible to print concrete that is so porous that sunlight could pass through it, reducing the need for indoor lighting.
Oxman is an internationally recognized artist whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She will use the technology to make one of the 18 sculptures in her next exhibit in this spring at the center Pompidou in Paris.
Posted in 3D Printing Technology
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haga wrote at 3/12/2013 9:04:53 PM: