Jan 30, 2015 | By Simon

Although industrial designers have been using additive manufacturing technologies for decades to create a final and finished product design, it is still not a very common method for producing designs at a mass manufacturing level. However as the prices of 3D printing good continue to drop... while the benefits of designing with 3D printing production methods continues to increase, a new generation of designers have shown that in some cases, the best product designs may actually have to be 3D printed in order to see them fully visualized.

One such designer who has used 3D printing to realize their vision of a product design is Lilian van Daal, whose Biomimicry chair was produced using 3D printing.  

Inspired by the cellular structure seen in nature, van Daal created a soft-cushion chair concept that, rather than relying on traditional furniture cushions, uses it’s own cellular structure to support the weight of an individual who sits on it.  

While the design of the chair itself highlights how different additive manufacturing can affect the final outcome of an otherwise traditional product design (AKA ‘the chair), it also presents an interesting discussion centered around the future of manufacturing from an environmental stance.  The chair uses just a single material - nylon - and is able to be customized for different zones of flexibility based on who the end user is.  

While traditional couches rely on a complicated design and assembly procedure that includes multiple materials and an extensive amount of human labor, van Daal’s chair is able to produce a cushioned chair experience using nothing but some research image gathering, 3D modeling and finally, a 3D printer.  Not to mention, the futuristic aesthetic of the chair itself is sure to please some users.

"Soft seating usually consists of several different materials [and] it's all glued together, which is a problem for the recyclability of a product," van Daal explains.

"You need five or six different factories [to produce conventional upholstered furniture]. But with 3D printing you can produce very locally and you don't have material waste in the production process; you only use the material you need."

Presented at Dutch Design Week, Van Daal’s prototype for the Biomimicry chair was met with an enthusiastic response from the attendees however she admits that she isn’t quite ready to put the chair into production quite yet.   

"I have to develop it further," she said.  "I also want to do more research on using biological materials."


Source: DeZeen


Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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