April 21, 2014

Every year the Milan Furniture Fair heralds a tidal wave of new concepts and products. This year, Studio Minale-Maeda presented Keystones, a specially-designed connector that holds together various components of a piece of furniture and can be 3D printed at home.

These 3D printed plastic connectors combine with standard wooden parts, so that only the essential parts of the furniture need to be shipped, and people could just print the plastic parts on a home 3D printer. The goal is to redefine the design process itself and introduce the active customer participation.

Here's some more information from the designers:

The work of Studio Minale-Maeda investigates the potentials of multi-directional material translations (digital to analogue to building-block construction), open-source schematics (from Gerrit Rietveld drawings to the online Lego community), and novel forms of distribution (such as downloadable design).


Keystones reduce the design of a piece of furniture to a single connector – a compact piece that can be 3D printed on-location. The keystone holds together the various components of a table or chair, which can be fabricated using basic workshop tools or a 2D CNC router, without the need for joinery skills. With Keystones, only the most essential part of the furniture needs to be shipped; the rest can be made from the materials at hand.

The studio Studio Minale-Maeda was founded in 2006 by Kuniko Maeda (Tokyo, Japan) and Mario Minale (Naples, Italy) in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, after Maeda, graduated in science of design at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, while Minale, grown up in Germany, graduated in Industrial Design at the University of Wuppertal, Germany. The firm focus on conceptual design that concerns important cultural and social issues. Both studied at the Design Academy Eindhoven and were awarded master degrees.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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Sami wrote at 11/26/2015 10:50:57 AM:

Looks like they never heared about the plane with thevsquare windows.

Greg wrote at 4/28/2014 10:23:36 AM:

I think they would be a good to use as a jig.

AMnerd wrote at 4/24/2014 3:55:12 PM:

Those are going to snap so fast

David wrote at 4/22/2014 3:03:36 PM:

I really like the concept, gonna give it a try for sure. Some of the example don't look very tough, but with proper thickness and infill, I'm pretty sure it can give a very good result out of a well calibrated FFF printer.

Joe wrote at 4/21/2014 5:21:30 PM:

Given the highly variable structural strength of the hobbyist 3D print output, I hope this idea doesn't catch on, or people could be hurt.

jd90 wrote at 4/21/2014 5:14:52 PM:

I don't think that's cost-effective for DIY. They don't look like they've been made on an FFF machine either.

michaelc wrote at 4/21/2014 4:33:29 PM:

I hope those are sturdier than they look.

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