Jan.23, 2014

Spring feels just around the corner while watching the elegant movements of 3D printed flower blossoms of the Seemless Blossom Project – which are believed to be the world's first multi-material inflatable 3D prints. Designer Richard Clarkson explains that the aim of the project was to explore the design and material possibilities of 3D printing by creating an inflatable 3D prints. These 3D printed flowers 'bloom' using forced air to reveal the complex physical structure of the print.

The results are beautiful. The flowers were made using a "rubber-like material" for the petals and clear resin for the ovaries of the flowers. Clarkson took advantage of the possibilities 3D printing offers to do things like adjusting quantities at the point of print, experimenting with mixed materials, and creating new materials at the point of print.

Clarkson writes:

"Recent advances in 3D printing now allow the simultaneous deposition of different build materials in a single print. In a similar way to nature, materials can be distributed seamlessly within objects for structural and functional advantage. "Blossom" explores the blending of two materials with varying physical properties transitioning from flexible to rigid. The variation offers an opportunity to generate complex forms and dynamic structures that are impossible to make by any other means."

Basically, the 3D printed flower blossoms consist of a curved, hollow chamber of flexible rubber. As you inflate the rubber chamber, air pushes against the inner layer and then forces itself outwards – creating the appearance of a blooming flower. The blossoms were designed using Solidworks.

The Seemless Blossom Project consists of a collection of 3D printed flowers and is an interactive installation which uses no electronics – apart from a light underneath. All movement is based on pneumatics and changes in air pressure. Check out the installation yourself:

As seen in the video, the ovaries of the flowers are dyed different colors: red, yellow, and blue. The installation becomes a playful game revealing different colors in different ways. Clarkson describes the installation as having an instrumental quality as the blossoms react under your hands and before your eyes.

Perhaps the greatest success of this project is the way it creates organic forms and movements out of non organic processes and materials. It is literally and figuratively moving.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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michaelc wrote at 1/29/2014 10:49:21 PM:

Interesting potential for creating pneumatic robot hands

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