Feb 5, 2016 | By Tess

Take a seat and listen to this. Team CurVoxels, a group of students from the Bartlett School of Architecture at the University College London has created a set of stunning 3D printed chairs using a new additive manufacturing technique that allows them to create extremely detailed and complex structures.

The project, called Spatial Curves, was created by three students, Hyunchul Kwon, Amreen Kaleel, and Xiaolin Li, who make up the design trio CurVoxels. As a team, Kwon, Kaleel and Li developed a new method for 3D printing on a large scale that consists of using an industrial robot and custom made nozzles to 3D print complex curves and voxelized patterns in the air - think of a large scale 3D printing pen. That is, the nozzles used by them are capable of extruding 4 to 6mm thick lines of filament into the air, where the plastic is cooled to rigidity.

This process has allowed them to efficiently create Spatial Curves, a set of chairs inspired by the Panton chair, the famous S-shaped chair that was designed by Danish designer Verner Panton in 1906.

Using a digital model of the curvy Panton chair, the team was able to generate the chair’s voxels, or 3 dimensional pixels, to create a complex, filigree-like structure for the chair. As they explain on their website, “The Panton chair is voxelised, a process of dividing an object into ‘volumetric pixels’. These voxels are then translated into a basic spatial curve, which can adopt different orientations, generating an overall pattern throughout the chair.” The pattern, as can be seen in photos of the chairs, becomes denser at certain points, where the chair needs to be stronger and withstand the most stress.

CurVoxels went through twelve different design patterns before settling on their chosen ones, which were selected for their 3D printing toolpath continuity, their general printability, and their densities. In additively manufacturing the actual chair then, the robot controlled 3D printer was able to work uninterrupted, from a continuous extrusion. Additionally, an algorithm was created by the team which allowed them to change the pattern or density of the printing at will during the process using an app they developed.

The project won the Gold Track Award for best project of 2015 in MArch Architectural Design at Bartlett and was recently presented at the Bartlett’s B-Pro Show 2015 in London as well as the Synthetic 2015 Exhibition in Le Mans, France.

Spiral Staircase

The team has also worked on the CurVoxels Spiral Staircase using the same technology. To check out their amazing 3D printing technique check out the video below:



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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