Aug 4, 2015 | By Alec

3D printing technology is steadily entering the homes of private consumers all over the world, but despite all its potential the 3D printer hasn’t quite become a household technology yet. That issue is exactly what has been driving one Hungarian student: How can a 3D printer become a functional (and not just a fun) tool for in your home? That’s exactly why Ollé Gellért has developed a set of easily 3D printable joints that are very modular in use and can be combined with just about any type of material to create furniture and other useful and functional household objects.

Gellért is a 24-year-old student from Budapest, Hungary, who previously attained a degree in the Applied Arts Institute of the West Hungarian University. The product designer will start a master’s course at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest after the summer, but the thesis project he previously worked on is already very impressive. The original release can be seen on Behance here.

As he explains to, he has been frustrated by the slow pace at which 3D printers are being used to improve our lives. Especially since FDM 3D printers are now cheaper and more available than ever before. ‘These tendencies can lead to 3D printed objects being seen not just as prototypes, but they could be the final product that you can use without any compromise. If the production becomes part of our households and everybody finds printable models on different web clouds, the designer’s duty is to find and design the optimal types of objects,’ he says.

In his search for a way to turn 3D printed objects into household technologies, the student quickly arrived at the one thing we all have in our homes: furniture. ‘There are some experiments when the printers were used to create full sized furniture. But in that case you need a huge printer and a lot of useless material. If we want to create larger objects with our printers, we should print only the small joints and we will be able to connect bigger parts from different materials. It could be practical because joints are always the most practical and difficult part in any object,’ he explains.

Ideally, these joints would need to be as modular as possible to become able to connect sheets of materials together in any way you’d like. ‘So firstly I made some test parts to find the best way how to fix the joints on the plywood. After that I designed the final form which uses just any material what is needed,’ Gellért tells us. ‘I used Rhinoceros 3D to the design. The hole design process took about 3 months, but that includes the research done before as well.’

Gellért also specifically designed these joints to be suitable for FDM 3D printed manufacturing, because it’s the cheapest, simplest and most available technology. ‘However, the prototype was printed with SLS technology thanks to a sponsor called Varinex. That was a great opportunity! I wanted to try this technology as well to see how the joints works from different kind of plastic,’ he says. Nonetheless, he feels that FDM 3D printing in either ABS or PLA is the only commercialy viable way to practically use these connectors. 3D printing them in ABS takes about seven hours per joint, though that depends on the type of 3D printer used.

These very useful joints are still in development – Gellért is planning thicker and thinner versions for different materials – but the basic set can already be used and ordered here. For just a few bucks you can get access to the STL files and get building. Gellért, meanwhile, is planning to create a number of experimental creations with his joint connectors to show off what they can do. And as he is also thinking about follow-up 3D printing projects, we will doubtlessly hear more from the product developer in the near future.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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