3d printing

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Design

Seeds Embedded into 3D-Printed Earthen Architecture Produce Living Green Walls

September 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of the University of Virginia

Recent years have seen an outpouring of 3D-printed structures, including homes made of coiled clay and looped, stackable bricks, and now, researchers from the University of Virginia put a lively spin on the innovative technique. For an ongoing project within the School of Architecture, assistant professor Ehsan Baharlou and his team mixed seeds into earthen building materials that, once layered into walls, sprout lush plant life and evoke a Chia Pet aesthetic.

At this stage, the technology has been tested on smaller domes and walls, although once scaled up, it has the potential to naturally insulate buildings, soak up excess water that could lead to flooding, create green space for urban critters, and even be carbon negative, as the succulents sequester carbon from the surrounding environment. “We are working with local soils and plants mixed with water; the only electricity we need is to move the material and run a pump during printing. If we don’t need a printed piece or if it isn’t the right quality, we can recycle and re-use the material in the next batch of inks,” Baharlou said in a statement. The idea, he told Dezeen, is to establish “an active ecological system that might store emitted carbon in 3D-printed soil structures through the process of photosynthesis.”

In the coming months, the team plans to expand the capacities of the process to create more expansive structures and address the cracks that occur in the soil when produced on a larger scale.

 

Left: 48 hours. Middle: 96 hours. Right: 144 hours

Photo by Tom Daly

 

 



Art Design

Interview: Rael San Fratello Navigates the Boundaries of 3D Printing, Architecture, and the Impact of Division

September 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

“House Divided.” All images © Rael San Fratello, shared with permission

Virginia San Fratello and Ronald Rael of the eponymous studio Rael San Fratello (previously) foster a practice that’s difficult to categorize, which they speak to in a new interview supported by Colossal Members. The pair pursue projects that transcend the boundaries of design, art, technology, and craft: they continually address the implications of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, had a hand in the iconic Prada Marfa, and have constructed homes entirely through 3D printing. Although their interests are broad, Rael San Fratello is always committed to the material and structural, to recognizing everyone’s humanity, and to finding sustainable, practical ways to create a more hospitable future.

It was our hope that people would be able to relate to some of the spaces we created and would be able to understand and literally feel the bereftness, loneliness, and loss created by the division in the house. These are emotions that we all have and we all understand. With this project, we wish to communicate how the (border) wall is not only dividing places. It’s dividing people. It’s dividing families and how the unfortunate politics of the wall today is dividing children from their parents.

In this conversation, the pair speaks with Colossal managing editor Grace Ebert about applying their 3D-printing practice to larger projects, the role tradition plays in their works, and how, as educators, they encourage their students to embody the same innovative, endlessly curious mindset.

 

From the Frontier Drive-Inn project

 

 



Design Food

A Compostable Lamp Made from 3D-Printed Orange Peels Proposes a Sustainable Use for Food Waste

July 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Krill Design

Part sustainable design and part ode to Sicilian food culture, a new product by a Milan-based startup transforms inedible food waste into a functional homeware. Krill Design’s “Ohmie” is a compostable lamp made from the peels of two to three oranges sourced from the Messina province that are dried, ground into a powder, and added to a biopolymeric vegetable starch base. That combined material is molded into pellets used in a 3D printing process that layers the vibrant matter into a textured shade and base. Because of its organic origins, the minimal, leather-like lamp varies slightly in color as it ages and even maintains its signature citrusy scent.

“Ohmie” isn’t Krill Design’s first product that relies on a circular economy model: previous initiatives involve recycled plastics and coffee scraps that undergo a similar process before they’re molded into office furniture and other consumer goods. The orange lamp already met its goal on Kickstarter, but you’ve got about two weeks left to back the project. You also might enjoy this juice machine that creates bioplastic cups. (via Dezeen)

 

The orange peel and vegetable starch pellets

 

 



Art Design Science

Metallic Specimens by Dr. Allan Drummond Perfectly Replicate Prehistoric and Modern Insects in Bronze and Silver

June 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Thorn,” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 4 x 2 x 3 inches. All images © Allan Drummond, shared with permission

Dr. Allan Drummond works at the intersection of art, design, and science with his metallic replicas of wide-eyed spiders, ants, and other winged insects. He buoys his research in the departments of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago into a creative practice that casts biologically realistic specimens with a focus on anatomical elements of prehistoric organisms most likely to be lost in the fossil record, including underbellies.

Each creature starts with a digital rendering created in Blender that’s 3D-printed in individual pieces—you can see examples of these initial models on Instagram. Drummond then casts the replica in bronze or silver with the help of jewelry designers in his current city of Chicago and later assembles and finishes the metallic components, which results in a meticulous copy of the actual insect whether life-sized or enlarged to magnify its features.

In a note to Colossal, he writes that the body of work shown here utilizes more advanced techniques than his previous models and came together with the help of two mentors, sculptor Jessica Joslin and the jewelry designer Heather Oleari. “Feeling the pieces for the thorn bug snap together in my hands—a total rush—was less a relief from stress and more a confirmation that, at least when it comes to building giant metal arthropods, I know what I’m doing,” he says.

If you’re in Seattle, head to Roq La Rue Gallery before July 3 to see Drummond’s exacting metal insects in person, and dive deeper into his process on Instagram.

 

“Proudhopper (Dictyopharidae),” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 5 x 3 x 3.5 inches

“Naphrys,” bronze and black glass, approximately 10 x 14 x 2 inches

“Naphrys,” bronze and black glass, approximately 10 x 14 x 2 inches

“Semibalanus,” bronze, steel, and silver, approximately 4.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches

Detail of “Semibalanus,” bronze, steel, and silver, approximately 4.5 x 4 x 3.5 inches

“Thorn,” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 4 x 2 x 3 inches

“Proudhopper (Dictyopharidae),” bronze and sterling silver, approximately 5 x 3 x 3.5 inches

“Bellacartwrightia,” sterling silver and patina, 5.5 x 4 inches

“Farm To Table,” bronze ant, sterling silver aphid with black glass, two-carat cubic zirconia, approximately 9 x 5 x 2.5 inches

 

 



Art Design History

Download and 3D-Print 18,000 Artifacts from Art History through Scan the World

April 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

Scan the World might be one of the only institutions where visitors are encouraged to handle the most-valued sculptures and artifacts from art history. The open-source museum hosts an impressive archive of 18,000 digital scans—the eclectic collection spans artworks like the “Bust of Nefertiti,” the “Fourth Gate of Vaubam Fortress,” Rodin’s “The Thinker,” and Michelangelo’s “David” in addition to other items like chimpanzee skulls—that are available for download and 3D printing in a matter of hours.

Searchable by collection, artist, and location, Scan the World recently teamed up with Google Arts and Culture, which partners with more than 2,000 institutions, to add thousands of additional pieces to the platform. Each page shares information about an artifact’s history and location, in addition to technical details like dimensions, complexity, and time to print—scroll down on to view images of finished pieces uploaded by the community, too. While much of the collection focuses on Western art, it’s currently bolstering two sections that explore works from India and China.

Scan the World is part of My Mini Factory, which is the largest platform for 3D-printed objects. If you’re new to the process, check out the site’s wide range of tutorials, including tips for beginnershow to scan with your phone, and techniques for using drones to capture hard-to-reach works. (via Open Culture)

 

Left: “Mars and Venus.” Right: “Marble Head from a Herm

 

 



Design

350 Layers of Coiled Clay Form an Organic Low-Carbon Home Made Through 3D-Printing

April 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © WASP

Last summer, The New York Times Magazine published a series of articles declaring that climate migration—a global exodus that’s predicted to displace between 50 and 300 million people worldwide—has begun. As more regions surrounding the equator become uninhabitable due to rising temperatures, crop losses, and disasters, entire populations will be forced to relocate to regions with more stable environments and economies. This impending movement coupled with an ongoing lack of affordable housing has sparked a wave of conversation about how best to remedy the looming crisis.

As a partial antidote, a Bologna-based studio, Mario Cucinella Architects, teamed up with the 3D-printing company WASP to design a low-carbon home that’s easily and quickly reproduced. Called “Tecla,” the prototype is a pair of sloping domes that can be built in only 200 hours using an average of six kilowatt-hours of energy. It’s made of 350 layers of coiled clay, which is sourced from a nearby river, that serves as thermal insulation for the earthen structure complete with a living area, kitchen, and sleeping quarters. Two skylights embedded in the roof of the 4.2-meter-tall domes allow light to enter the 60-square-meter space.

A short video from WASP documents the construction technique in Massa Lombarda, which involves two synchronized printing arms that glide back and forth to layer the walls. Producing almost no waste, the process is adaptable to other raw materials, making it a viable option for housing beyond the Italian region.

Find a larger collection of Mario Cucinella Architects’ and WASP’s climate-focused projects and looks into their processes on Instagram. You also might enjoy this 3D-printed home by Rael San Fratello. (via Dezeen)