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What’s the biggest obstacle to printing objects if I’m not a specialist?
3Dprinting physical objects necessitates the creation of a 3D-model that *describes* the form of the object to be printed. The software to make these models is challenging to use; its workflow demands the ability to project and visualize objects in the 3D space of a 2D screen. This is not a natural skill, but one that designers and architects are trained to master. But not everybody is trained as an architect or designer…
Our work is inspired not only by architecture, but by big and small science, ancient and contemporary art, and cutting edge tech. We consider 3Dprinting at the point of convergence around technology, science, design and architecture, and that’s exactly where we want to be.
Currently, 3d printing is widely used in the aeronautics, automotive, and electronics industries, as well as for medicine and dentistry: big, high tech industries were precision, speed and customization in the manufacturing process are competitive necessities.
But 3d printers are also widely used at another scale of production by designers, makers and increasingly by small businesses for making jewelry, toys and even food. This is the economy and scale of the growing 3d printing culture that is engaged by this project.
A 3d model is a mathematical representation of any three-dimensional surface of object that is made using specialized software. It can be displayed as a two-dimensional image through a process called 3D rendering or used in a computer simulation of physical phenomena. The model can be physically created using 3D printing devices.
Models could be considered the defining medium of design and architecture; they are directly involved in the 3Dprinting workflow.
3Dprinting is the transformation of information and data into physical objects through the direct conversion of a digital 3d model into a physical object using some form computer assisted manufacturing, such as extrusion, sintering, curing, printing, complex mold making…
Digital fabrication also involves the technological and social developments from the research, experimentation and production involving a convergence of different disciplines, economical interests and critical initiatives.
Key patents will expire in February 2014 for laser sintering, a high resolution printing technology, leaving an opening for competitors come in with cheaper alternatives. This situation could be compared to prescription drugs, which are generally very expensive until a patent expires, at which point other pharmaceutical companies can come in and make a generic version of a drug for a fraction of the cost.
Moving towards a pipeline architecture that’s similar to the rendering pipeline used by the movie industry, OpenFab is a streamlined process using fablets to specify changes in the material composition and geometry of each layer to be printed.