Nov.26, 2013

3D printing at home on a budget is great, but most 3D printers are limited to only printing objects smaller than themselves. How can you create large objects quickly on a desktop 3D printer?

Since last May, Nervous System has been working on its new project: Kinematics. Different from its earlier projects that start with a natural inspiration, Kinematics was focused making the most of the limitations of low-cost 3D printers.

Kinematics is a system for 4D printing that creates complex, foldable forms composed of articulated modules. Kinematics produces designs composed of 10's to 1000's of unique components that interlock to construct dynamic, mechanical structures. Each component is rigid, but in aggregate they behave as a continuous fabric. Though made of many distinct pieces, these designs require no assembly. Instead the hinge mechanisms are 3D printed in-place and work straight out of the machine.

Kinematics allows you to take large objects and compress them down for 3D printing through simulation. It also enables the production of intricately patterned wearables that conform flexibly to the body.

Nervous System announces today the releasing of a jewelry collection and two applications: Kinematics and a simplified version called Kinematics @ Home which is completely free to use.

Jewelry design

Each Kinematics jewelry design is a complex assemblage of hinged, triangular parts that behave as a continuous fabric in aggregate. The jewelry conforms closely to the contours of the human body.

Kinematics pieces come in four styles: smooth, angular, polygonal and tetrahedral. A limited initial run of eighteen Kinematics designs is currently available for purchase. Each design takes its name from the module style and number of pieces in the design. For example, Tetra Kinematics 174-n is a tetrahedral style necklace composed of 174 unique modules.

Kinematics jewelry is made of polished 3D printed nylon in a variety of colors. Prices for the collection range from $25 to $350 and most pieces cost less than $100.

Two Kinematics apps

The Kinematics app allows users to sculpt the shape of their jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets and earrings, and control the density of the pattern. Users can then order the design in polished 3D-printed nylon in a variety of colors.

The Kinematics @ Home app is targeted at people who already have access to a 3D printer. It allows users to download an STL file for home printing. Enter your wrist size, style your bracelet and click print to receive a free STL file suitable for printing on a Makerbot or similar desktop printer.

kinematics@home bracelets printed on a makerbot

Making a dress with Kinematics

Currently Nervous System is working on a more advanced software to design a shape and then fold it into a more compressed form for 3D printing.

One example is to use Kinematics to create a flexible dress that can be printed in one piece.

The process begins with a 3D scan of the client. Designer then draws the form of the desired dress based on the accurate 3D model of the body.

The surface of the sketched dress is then tessellated with a pattern of triangles. Next the designer generates the kinematics structure from the tessellation. Each triangle becomes a panel connected to its neighbors by hinges.

Finally, designer compresses the design via simulation so it fits into a 3D printer. This means that an entire gown, much larger than the printer itself, can be produced in a single assembled piece. The simulation uses rigid body physics to accurately model the folding behavior of the design's nearly 3,000 unique, interconnected parts and find a configuration that fits inside the volume of the printer.

Watch below a video demo of Kinematics:

Software Development

Kinematics is Nervous System' first application that is written purely JavaScript. Their previous web apps evolved from work they had created in Processing and contained large portions facilitated by processing.js to transition to the web. Kinematics was developed from the ground up to be a browser-based WebGL application.

The project makes use of two libraries. One is glMatrix, which they use in all our projects for vector and matrix operations. The other library they use is poly2tri, which produces constrained Delaunay triangulations. The JavaScript version is a port of the original C++ code.

Nervous System has also started internally developing modular code components which they can apply to other projects. glShader takes care of loading and processing of GLSL shader programs. It asynchronously loads external shader files and extracts all the attributes and uniforms from the shaders, providing helper functions to simplify working with WebGL.

The project also uses a JavaScript NURBS library that they're developing. This allowed them to design curves for the boundaries of the pieces in Rhino and then import them into Kinematics where users can interactively change them. They're also expanding and refining tools they created before for loading and working with meshes in JavaScript.

The simulation portion of the Kinematics project happens outside the browser. They use openFrameworks and BulletPhysics to perform the compression of Kinematics models.


Images credit & source: Nervous System


Posted in 3D Software



Maybe you also like:


Elona Green wrote at 2/13/2014 4:01:46 PM:

This is a good website

Sally wrote at 12/22/2013 12:29:38 AM:

Absolutely BRILLIANT. It seems "obvious" after youve had a think about the whole 3D printer capability range but it's still wonderful to think of printing large scale materials and being able eg. to print things to fit inside letterbox-sized postal boxes and then being able to be re-assembled into the 3D object at the other end! That's a lot more fun as well for the gift recipient as well. Booyah IKEA! :)

peter wrote at 11/27/2013 4:05:07 PM:

amazing tech !!

Dan wrote at 11/26/2013 11:24:04 PM:

Cool. Probably this method could be used to print thin fabric and whole clothes from flexible polymers with printers with high resolution like SLS.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now six years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive