Nov 19, 2015 | By Kira

Massachusetts-based design studio Nervous System has launched their first-ever line of products that were designed specifically for desktop 3D printers. The biomechanically-inspired Calyx and Bromeliad lamps can already be purchased as 3D printable files or finished products via their new Nervous Labs ‘work/shop’ hub, but take note: they’ll only be available until December 15th.

Calyx (left) and Bromeliad (right) 3D-printed lamps

Nervous System is a generative design studio that employs computer simulation to generate beautifully intricate, nature-inspired designs, and then 3D prints the final products as unique works of art, jewelry or housewares. We’ve previously seen their stunning work come to life in their collection of Floraform 3D printed jewelry, a meticulously crafted line of delicate pendants and rings inspired by the biomechanics of growing leaves and blooming flowers.

While the team, led by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, has been innovating in computational design and digital manufacturing since 2007, their processes have for the most part been inaccessible to at-home makers. That’s because they use industrial SLS (selective laser sintering) to 3D print their jewelry and lamps—machines that are considerably more powerful than average desktop printers, but also significantly more expensive.

Now, they have launched their first-ever products that were designed for desktop 3D printers so that you can recreate them at home. The flower and leaf-inspired Calyx and Bromeliad lamps were designed based on Nervous System’s Hyphae system, an algorithm-based growth simulation inspired by how veins form in plant leaves.

Their first foray into desktop 3D printable products coincides with the launch of Nervous Labs, a new, interactive hub of the Nervous System website where users can play around with their computational 3D modeling apps to create their own intricate, nature-inspired designs and then order the 3D prints. The Lab is also a platform for the team to release their latest ideas and experiments, such as the Calyx and Bromeliad lamps, as limited edition products. Each product release will be on sale for just one month, and will allow them to introduce new algorithms, materials, interfaces and fabrication techniques.

As their first experiment within the Lab, Nervous System has made the 3D digital files available as $5 downloads. Each lamp consists of two parts to print: a shade and a base. The shade takes roughly 8 hours to print and the base takes around 2 hours. Both models are designed to fit a standard candelabra fixture, and the files include advice on print settings and where to source the light fixture.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a 3D printer at home, the finished product can be purchased for $75, and will be printed from biodegradable, corn-based PLA. Nervous System notes that these are the first ever 3D printed designs that will be manufactured in-house at their studio in Somerville, MA, using their four desktop 3D printers: a Makerbot Replicator 1, an Ultimaker 2, and two Dremel machines. An added benefit of 3D printing the lamps in-house is that they can save on the outsourcing costs and make the finished product more eco-friendly than their previous Hyphae lamps by using biodegradable materials.

Innovating at the intersection of art, science, and technology, Nervous System’s designs are a unique and beautiful application of algorithms, biomechanics, and 3D printing. As an interactive workshop, the Nervous Lab also represents a new way for users to create their own designs, including 3D printed jewelry, custom-fit 3D printed clothing, and lasercut wood puzzles, and see them actually brought to life. The team has said that they already have several exciting product experiments planned for the next few months of releases, and we’re more than looking forward to see what they have in store.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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