During the Ars Electronica Gala 2013 on September 6 in the Brucknerhaus in Linz, Austria, the prize of the category [the next idea] voestalpine Art and Technology Grant went to the Hyperform project, folding strategies for 3D printing.
Hyperform is a joint collaboration between researchers from Brazil, the USA and Israel: Marcelo Coelho, Skylar Tibbtis, Natan Linder and Yoav Reches. It is a design and research effort to identify computational and material folding strategies that will allow desktop 3D printers to create large-scale objects by efficiently using the full volume of the 3D printer.
The concept is simple: you can compress the large scale objects into the small volume of desktop 3D printer using folding. The video below shows the longest chain from project Hyperform. With support of Formlabs, the researchers printed a 50' linear chain using a Form 1 3D printer. The print volume is 5" x 5" x 6". This chain spans a five-story building, demonstrating the world's largest print producted with the Form 1.
The chains are programmed with multidirectional notches, so that they can be latched together at right angles. Assembly is quick because each chain can only bend in the way it's designed to, thus removing a large obstacle that plagues most 3-D-printing ventures. The final product, then, will look exactly as it does on your computer screen but will be structurally sound enough to stand on its own in physical space. In the process, Tibbits suggests, scale becomes virtually, if not entirely, irrelevant. (In one test, the cohorts printed a 50-foot-long chain that they proceed to hang from the roof of a laboratory building.)
"It kinda grew up out of the idea that if you wanted to take something that was very large and wanted to compress it down into a very small bed size, how do you displace that density," Tibbits explains. The problem of displacing, or as Coelho later elaborates, "transforming" density is integral to understanding how Hyperform works and what it's great potential really means.
Skylar Tibbits is an architect, designer and computer scientist who recently presented a new concept at TED 2013: 4D printing. His research focuses on developing self-assembly technologies for large-scale structures in the physical environment. Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Marcelo holds a PhD from the Fluid Interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab. Marcelo Coelho's work explores how physical and computational materials can be used to create new human experiences.
The researchers hope these new techniques will also unleash entirely new opportunities. Of particular importance is reversibility, which can allow for the shipping of flat materials that expand to maximum volume on-site, and self-transformation which can allow objects to kinetically respond to their environment and accommodate changing use conditions.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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