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Voxel Chair: a 3D printed chair made by a robot

From 3D printing living cells to full-size buildings, additive manufacturing is everywhere. Furniture is no exception in this matter, like this chair that was 3D printed by hand. Manuel Jiménez García and Gilles Retsin from the Design Computation Lab of the Barlett School of Architecture in London designed the Voxel Chair v1.0 that consists of one continuous line, 3D printed by a robotic printing arm.

The Voxel Chair is a prototype to demonstrate the properties of software García and Retsin developed especially for robotic 3D printing. Rather than using pre-defined forms and then turning these it into tool paths, this software allows to design and control thousands of line-fragments. Designs are created in one continuous line of the material, instead of printing designs layer by layer.

A robot eventually builds the design, extruding molten plastic into the air, which sets quickly as it cools. The printer head even appears to be able to print short vertical lines, without the need of a gel to print in, like the case is with Rapid Liquid Printing.

The shape of the Voxel Chair is based on a Panton chair, designed by Danish designer Verner Panton. The line that makes up the chair is 2.36 kilometres (1.46 miles) long. The chair was printed with a pellet-extruder, an extruder that uses raw plastic particles rather than filament. The plastic is PLA, a non-toxic, biodegradable plastic from renewable resources such as cornstarch. The chair uses a transparent plastic, mixed with blue particles, which results in a colour gradient.

The chair was printed at the workshop of Nagami Design and is exhibited until 19 June at Galerie 4 of the Centre Pompidou in Paris in the exhibition “Imprimer le monde”.

Photos: Design Computation Lab 

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