3D Printing Pre-Formed, Expandable Structures
Kyle Maxey posted on November 27, 2013 |

3d printing, material, robot, designIn what could be a preview of the future of architectural design, Los Angeles-based architecture office ID4A has created a method for creating pliable, reconfigurable 3D prints.

According to Rania Hoteit and Malek Idriss, principles at ID4A, their new method for architectural “hyper-prototyping” employs a “rigorous exchange between computational design, physical prototyping and additive manufacturing.” By combining these three tools, the young architects have designed a system that can build pre-formed rigged structures and mold-less scaffolds that are easy to control and manipulate even after they’ve been printed.

As part of their "patent-pending" process, ID4A uses a material blend consisting of polymers and composites to create a substrate that is “pliable and transformative until being fixed by scripting 3D vectorial geometry networks, programming materials and… [applied to] robotic motion.” To achieve this result, ID4A programs their materials with algorithms that allow them to snap to a number of “formal states,” giving every print the ability to take on multiple forms.

Using robotic manipulation, ID4A can tease out complex folds and bends created in their prints. With the added benefit of non-mechanical, embedded “bio-joints” a wide range of controlled manipulation can be rendered into each print.

Currently, Hoteit and Idriss are looking to further their research by creating deployable versions of their “hyper-prototyping” concept. While it will likely be a long while before shape-shifting, 3D printed architecture is used to build products or buildings, the idea is an intriguing one and a testament to the creativity people are pouring into 3D printing technology.

Logistical Morphologies & Rigging Matter in Motion by ID4A from ID4A on Vimeo.

Images and Video Courtesy of ID4A

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