3D Printing and Furniture: Freedom of Design
The Batoidea 3D printed chair and stool are made in Belgium. It is part of a limited edition collection. Both pieces were created from 3D printed sand molds, the exact same method used to produce the internal core of the Ferrari engine. It took a total of five sand mold parts, all manufactured by Voxeljet’s service center in Augsburg. The thin-walled aluminum cast structures were then painted using the same technique Ferrari uses to paint the bodywork of its supercars.
The Rio collection is made in London. It consists of backrest chairs and a side table that combine 3D printed parts with traditional furniture materials, such as wood and glass. The lattice structure was designed entirely by a computer algorithm, sustaining weight while optimizing the material used. This resulted in a unique and gorgeous design that’s manufactured either with resin or polyamide powder.
The Multithread uses 3D printed joints to make tables, shelves, and desks. The designers are Swedish and German. The lattice structures supporting the flat surfaces of the furniture were optimized by custom software that “analyzes, modifies, and paints” the joints according to the forces to which they’re submitted. The joints were digitally designed and 3D printed using selective laser melting (SLM). After printing, the parts were hand polished and the final structure was assembled.
The One_Shot stool is a functional stool by a French designer. It has a dynamic structure that allows it to be folded, just like an umbrella, for transportation or storage. The collapsing movement is fluid, making use of a twisting motion and gravity. The entire piece, including all moving parts and hinges, are 3D printed together using selective laser sintering (SLS).
Bits and Parts from the Netherlands have created some chair models. All of them can be downloaded for free and be printed by anyone with a 3D printer. Each unit is assembled like a 3D puzzle to form the final piece of furniture. The entire project is a constant work in progress, where makers around the globe can join ranks and enhance the designs.
Print Your City! is an ongoing research project aimed at recycling household plastic waste and using it to 3D print public city furniture. It started in Amsterdam as a test run. The first piece of furniture was a custom public bench weighing around 15 kg. It was equivalent to the total plastic waste produced by two Amsterdamers per year.
Most of the furniture discussed here was made by studios and designers who wanted to explore the production capabilities of 3D printing.