Jun 3, 2015 | By Simon

When it comes to deciphering the possible usage of new technologies - additive manufacturing technologies especially - oftentimes the creators of the technology themselves will hire some of the top creatives in their field to test the limits of what’s possible with the new technology - whether it’s for the development of a new piece of hardware or for a new software application.  Oftentimes, the result is nothing short of remarkable.  

Such is the case more recently with 3D printing pioneer Janne Kyttanen, a designer who is currently a senior creative fellow at 3D systems responsible for churning out creative applications for the company’s latest tech.  Kyttanen’s latest piece, Sofa So Good, was inspired by the structures of spiderwebs and silkworm cocoons to create a sofa design that could only be fabricated using additive manufacturing technologies.  

The designer used 2.5 liters of resin material to create a geometric mesh design for the 1.5-meter lounger that is molded to comfortably seat a human while simultaneously using as little material as possible and providing as much strength as possible - which effectively mimics the structures of both cocoons and spider webs.  

"With 3D (printing) technology, we can express forms only found in nature," said Kyttanen, in regards to the biomimicry-inspired approach to his Sofa So Good design.

As the former creative director of 3D systems, Kyttanen is no stranger to 3D printing.  Previously, the talented designer and co-founder of the design studio Freedom of Creation has used additive manufacturing technologies to create everything from 3D printed clothes to various food items, among others.  

To create his prototype for the Sofa So Good, Kyttanen used 3D Systems’ ProX 950 SLA 3D printer, which the company has called “the largest-format, highest-speed, greatest accuracy and greenest 3D printer available today, offering revolutionary new ways to quickly manufacture precise plastic parts and forgo the design limitations of CNC or injection molding.”  

Over the course of several days, 6,000 layers of resin were cured using the stereolithography 3D printing process to form the final shape of the sofa.  After the prototype was created, copper and chrome plating were added to achieve the desired finish and keep the design as light as possible.  In total, the final Sofa So Good weighed just 2.5 kilograms and is capable of holding up to 100 kilograms of weight.  

"How much material would we be able to save from products and building materials if we could manufacture like this?" asks Kytannen. "There's a whole range of benefits we can't even fathom today."

In addition to highlighting the resolution, scale and accuracy of the ProX 950 SLA 3D printer, the design is also an excellent example of how additive manufacturing has enabled more biomimicry-inspired designs by way of allowing for complex geometries to be built that weren’t able to be produced previously using traditional manufacturing methods.  Among other benefits of these biology-inspired structures include the use of less materials to produce a final object; as the saying goes, “design by nature is perfect”.  

Kyttanen hopes that by using less material in the design there will be a domino effect through the supply chain that would include reduced energy consumption for manufacturing as well as reduced transportation costs and fuel use.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Chris wrote at 6/3/2015 11:08:48 PM:

No photos of anyone sitting on it?

Bad Bob wrote at 6/3/2015 12:47:11 PM:

Manufacture needs to be at the retail park, so only raw materials are supplied and the customer can choose the sofa/options there and then. Pick it up in a couple of hours after they have taken in a movie or meal sponsored by the manufacturer (built into price)

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