Dezeen is the world’s most popular and influential architecture and design magazine, and the winner of numerous awards for journalism and publishing. It’s a pleasure that such importan magazine publish about the VoxelChair v1.0 produced by Nagami Design.
The article explains the process of the VoxelChair v1.0, from the design, carried out by Manuel Jiménez García and Gilles Retsin, to the fabrication, accomplished by Nagami Design, through the development of the software and customized tools by the team in continuous collaboration with Vicente Soler.
“Normally when you design an object to 3D print, you would first model a mesh-representation of the object in one software, and then slice it into layers or triangular toolpaths in another software. These type of geometries are the easiest to control, and that’s why we see them now so often. We turned the process upside down : the software allows to design a series of toolpath patterns, and then define the way how they combine together into an object, that consists of one continuous line which can then be extruded by the robot”
“Designing for robots is fundamentally different – all the current software tools that are now available are made with older manufacturing techniques in mind, such as milling or moulding”
As Manuel Jiménez García and Gilles Retsin explains, this approach allows to make objects that are much more functional and intricate than in normal 3D-Prints. For example, the parts of the chair that need to be very strong are printed with very dense patterns, the parts where you sit have patterns that are more flexible and soft.
Technically, the software is based on voxels, or 3-dimensional pixels, a technology which comes from the medical imaging industry. With traditional design software, designers define objects through modelling surfaces, but they are never able to design the actual volume or inside. Using Voxels, this new design software allows designers to make decisions about every part of the object.
“This approach is not only more functional in terms of performance, but it also offers designers opportunities to really work directly with incredible amounts of data. Instead of designing the form of the chair, you design the behaviours and properties of the material directly”
Therefore, Voxels Chair v1.0 is not only a new way of mannufacturing but also a new way of thinking, a new way of designing. This new software is intended to give designers greater control over the 3D-printing process. Whereas they would usually use software to model an object that would then be automatically “sliced” into layers – or tool paths – for printing, with DCL’s invention, they can manipulate the tool paths directly.
“Instead of designing the form of the chair, you design the behaviours and properties of the material directly,” said Jiménez Garcia and Retsin, who have been working on this new concept for years as researchers, teachers and co-founders of the Design Computation Lab at The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL.
The software is currently still in development. It received the 2016 Autodesk ACADIA Emerging Research Award for best paper and will be presented at the 2017 ACADIA conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in November.
If want to know more about what Dezeen writes about VoxelChair v1.0 you can read the article here.