The Bartlett’s Design Computation Lab, a part of the University College London, recently revealed a new software programme that advances the process of 3D printing. The software allows one continuous line of plastic to make up a robot-built product, rather than creating forms layer by layer.
The software designs, which are then built by a robot, consist of melted plastic that are ejected into the air before setting and cooling.
The latest advancements allow for more intricate patterns to be made, as well as enabling designers to produce lighter forms using only the necessary amount of material. The software can also be used for large-scale metamaterials, or an engineered material defined by its internal structure rather than its components.
In testing the software, the team at the Design Computation Lab made the Voxel Chair v10, which consists of transparent, biodegradable PLA plastic with a blue tint. The prototype, inspired by the Panton chair by Verner Panton, highlights the technology’s ability to produce delicate geometric patterns.
While still in development, the software won the 2016 Autodesk ACADIA Emerging Research Award for best paper and will be presented at the 2017 ACADIA conference.