Aug 2, 2018 | By Thomas

MIT’s self-assembly lab and Swiss designer Christophe Guberan has unveiled a collection of new lighting and household items at new york’s patrick parrish gallery using innovative rapid liquid 3D printing technique. In this process, forms are “drawn” in gel suspension by a robot, and then inflated to their proper sizes.

4D printing is an emerging technology being pioneered at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab. It allows physical things (often 3D printed) to retain embedded self-assembly instructions that can be activated by particular environmental conditions, like heat or air. In 2017, the Self-Assembly Lab developed a new 4D printing method to create objects: Rapid Liquid Printing (RLP). RLP physically draws in 3D space in a liquid gel suspension using a variety of extruded materials - everything from rubber, foam to plastic - that only bond to themselves and not the gel. Because there is no build chamber other than the vat of gel, the technology has to potential to be scaled up significantly, and could even be used to 3D print large scale, customized products.

Now the 4D manufacturing technique is realising market-ready products including lights and vases. For Liquid to Air, the team printed vases, lamps, pendants, and sconces made from a stretchy silicone and inflated them into round, buoyant fixtures with a malleable finish. The printed silicon rubber, a material that would be nearly impossible to produce with any other printing technology, allows the skin to be stretched around any structure, making an object that is far larger than its original print volume.

A video of the process gives us a close look at the process:

Liquid to Air isn’t the first collaboration between the Self-Assembly Lab and designer Christophe Guberan. Last year, Self-Assembly Lab, Christophe Guberan, Marcelo Coelho and Steelcase Inc. presented a stretchable light created with Rapid Liquid Printing. The skin of the light was printed within an 18” cubic tank, suspended within the gel, then removed and washed with water. This unique light skin can be customized to create different sizes or geometries by simply stretching the skin around different internal frames.

These lights and vases are available to the public for prices ranging from $95 to $3,200 depending on the size and complexity of the object. Liquid to Air: Pneumatic Objects is currently on display at the Patrick Parrish Gallery at 50 Lispenard Street in Manhattan through August 26.

All images credit: Patrick Parrish Gallery



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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