One of the pleasures of summer (except days at the beach) is graduation season at the design schools. Last year we were impressed by the seamless integration of 3D printing in design graduation projects, this year we noticed a recurring theme in how the technology is applied. Many of the students are using 3D printing as a structure or a platform, indicating a deeper understanding of the technology and its advantages. In the projects below 3D printed components are used for their structural abilities, combined with other technologies or elements they resemble scaffolding, bridging different materials or transforming their look or behavior.
Lingxiao Luo, Royal College of Art Knitwear graduate, combined 3D printed elements in AddiToy, a knitwear collection influenced by toys, their characteristic bright colors, and graphics. Knitting machines are also a digital manufacturing method so the entire garment is digitally manufactured. Luo developed 3 methods of 3D printing directly onto knitwear in order to create joinery and 3-dimensional shapes. One of her methods is 3D printing a flexible filament onto a tightly knitted elastic fabric, the difference in the tension between the two materials results in a twisting effect, transforming into a 3-dimensional structure. Another method takes 2 different knitted textiles side by side and joins them together by 3D printing an additional layer on top of them. “3D printing can offer the knitting more structure and the knitting can make the 3D printing more wearable, that’s the starting point of my technique!” says Luo.
Empowering Tradition with Technology
At the Jewelry and Fashion department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, graduate Ganit Goldstein mentored by Yaron Ronen also combined 3D printing with textile, specifically a Japanese weaving technique called IKAT. Goldstein’s project ‘Between the Layers’ which includes 7 outfits and 6 pairs of shoes (one of them printed in collaboration with Stratasys using Connex 3), aims to create an unexpected harmony between digital manufacturing and traditional handcraft. During a semester in Japan, she was exposed to the traditional IKAT weaving, where the threads are dyed prior to the weaving process specifically in order to create colorful patterns in the fabric. Here the weaving system includes a 3D printer where layer by layer Goldstein weaves the threads between the printed layers during the process. Goldstein collaborated with Intel using their RealSense technology to scan her body, the scans were then manipulated to achieve her designs and 3D printed on her home Prusa printers, referring to the possibility of producing garments that are designed specifically to fit an individual. “This allows a perfect fit for different bodies, and ultimately, it brings the custom-made fashion, one step closer to our daily life,” says Goldstein (below photos by Michael Tzur).
Nadin Ram another Jewelry and Fashion Bezalel graduate, fantasizes about being ‘born in heels’, in order to come closer to achieving that fantasy she designed and 3D printed an exoskeleton shoe. The Titanium Skeleton uses anatomical and minimal structures to hold the foot in a high heel position. The inner part of the shoe is 3D printed as well, using transparent PLA, can be separated and replaced for different colors, textures or firmness. Ram, mentored by Eliora Ginsburg, collaborated with the Israeli Institute of Metals at the Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, together they printed the shoe in Titanium using EBAM (below).
Structure for Structure
Not a graduation project but still impressive is the work done by the students of the Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture and Digital Fabrication at ETH Zurich (MAS ETH DFAB). The students were led by senior researcher Mania Aghaei Meibodi who explores in her work the use of additive manufacturing (AM) in producing highly detailed yet large scaled building parts. Together they created Deep Facade an aluminum structure 6 meters high and 4 meters wide which was cast in a 3D printed sand mold. The use of additive manufacturing as a facilitator, as a framework or mold opens the field of architecture and construction to customization, together with optimization, there is a potential to reach complex yet efficient structures. “With our approach using a 3D-printed mold, we make it possible and affordable again to fabricate bespoke structural metal parts — parts with unseen richness of detail and geometric complexity,” said Aghaei Meibodi (below the casting process with the mold and detail of facade).
Ancient 3D printing
Last but not least, recent Design Academy Eindhoven graduate, Felix Mollinga grows crystals on 3D printed structures. Mollinga sees mineral crystals as the oldest form of additive manufacturing. While 3D printing forms layer by layer in a controlled manmade environment, crystals grow by organically solidifying layer on top of layer in the earth crust. Mollinga managed to manipulate the growth of crystals by designing and 3D printing intricate structures, the crystals follow the 3D printed forms, growing according to the design.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions from graduation season. If you have a project you’d like to share email us or share your comments and suggestions below. For more inspiration and information follow us on Pinterest or subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates.