Dec 8, 2017 | By Benedict

Germany’s Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden (IHD) has launched “3D-FeSy,” a research project that aims to develop a 3D printed integral suspension system for upholstered furniture. IHD researchers say 3D printing can provide a range of adapted seat structures.

Furniture production can be a tricky business. While not everyone puts a lot of thought into the chairs and sofas they buy, some people really do—to the extent that they want personalized seat structures designed to meet their every comfort-related need.

This is why the Institut für Holztechnologie Dresden, a wood research institute in Germany, has started the project 3D-FeSy, in which researchers will attempt to develop an integral suspension system for upholstered furniture using FDM 3D printing.

The researchers think that 3D printing, suitable as it is for small-batch production and one-off designs, could be used for individual, customized furniture products, reducing the excessive warehouse expenses and complex logistics that burden custom-made furniture production.

But the researchers have a lot to find out before they can determine how useful 3D printing can be. In particular, the 3D-FeSy project aims to find out which 3D printing materials, printing parameters, and designs are best suited for replacing existing furniture suspension systems.

These 3D printed suspension systems will be built into the pieces of furniture they are made for. Rather than consisting of metal springs and wires, they will be made of plastic, printed in various shapes to provide different forms of support.

In terms of materials, the IHD team is first examining the printability of certain thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers. These materials are intended to perform the function of both the spring core and spring suspension of a piece of furniture at once, which means the chosen material must be highly durable.

Fortunately, IHD isn’t going into the process of material selection without any experience. In September 2016, the institute launched another 3D printing project, “bioxXprint,” in which it attempted to 3D print renewable raw materials into graded structures for upholstered furniture.

Whatever materials are selected for 3D-FeSy, the aim is to develop a system in which precise computer-controlled adjustments to the 3D printed shape can affect the suspension behavior of the integral suspension system. This would ideally cover all kinds of seating, from super soft couches to ordinary rigid chairs.

The 3D-FeSy project began in February, and could soon result in a new range of high-tech furniture that is customized for the needs of individual customers using the latest in 3D printing technology and materials research. The IHD is also planning further 3D printing projects for the future.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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