Tessa’s Weekly Picks – 3D Printed Nesting


Tessa Blokland  


I am so looking forward to nice spring weather. As you know, I take a brisk walk almost every day, enjoying the sprouting fruit trees, the sun on my skin, birds whistling frantically. I see them (that is the birds, obviously) flying in and out with pieces of wood, twigs, grass, and reeds to build their nests. Which is the theme of this week’s blog post. And since I also like playing with words, I will start and end with other nests than you might have in mind.

Nesting in 3D printing is all about packing as many parts as possible in one build, for the optimal use of machine capacity. By packing in more parts, you can print the same amount in less time or more parts in the same build chamber. Nesting is most commonly used with powder bed fusion technologies, like SLS and Multi Jet Fusion. On top of the optimal use of one build plate, nesting also reduces expensive material waste in highly regulated industries, such as healthcare, where the powder cannot be recycled. The image you see here is a 3D-printed representation of what a densely nested build looks like.

But back to a bird’s nest. This 3D printed nest is part of a project with the aim to bring back birds into the cities by providing them with shelter. You can stick the nest to your glass window and enjoy the hatching from your home.

If you are more fascinated by insects, you might like this 3D printed ant farm (also top image). The 3D printed nests were developed for ants and try to simulate the natural nest area of ants through shape and color. The bottom and lid of the nests are made of acrylic glass and allow a very good insight into what is happening. There are different sizes for different species of ants.

The large 3D printed nest in this image is the result of a year-long seminar taken by graduate architecture students at the University of California, Berkeley, and was led by associate professor of architecture Maria Paz Gutierrez. The course focused on the integration of traditional and digital fiber fabrication methods, as the website explains. Mimicking the behavior of weaver birds, the students created a model with algorithms to reproduce the natural weaver patterns and reengineered a 3D printer to print with hemp and wood waste instead of plastic. They also installed robotic arms programmed to thread the hemp fibers the way a bird would.

The last 3D printed nest is not really a nest but resembles a nest-like feeling to me. Emerging Objects 3D printed a mud hut, called Casa Covida, to explore how a combination of modern and ancient technology could be combined to create a home big enough for two people to live in. Take a look at the website, it looks really cozy to me!

LEO Lane_Weekly Pick_3D Printed Nesting

Each of Tessa’s weekly picks is a curated group of 3D printed designs, based on the week’s chosen theme. If you would like to offer a theme for Tessa, or if you have your 3D printed weekly picks you would like to see featured, please let us know by commenting below. Subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest weekly picks every week in your mailbox.

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