It’s not surprising that using additive manufacturing to create large-scale objects – such as chairs – hasn’t really taken off; between the size of a 3D printer needed combined with the cost of filament, you may as well truck over to your nearest Design Within Reach and pick up your favorite Herman Miller or Eames.
But in the case that creating a 3D printed chair is absolutely necessary, a more modular approach would seem to make sense – at least for the majority of users who don’t have an industrial-sized 3D printer hanging out in their garage.
Design engineer and Thingiverse user Stewart Allen mulled over this dilemma and has been actively developing a modular construction system for making human-scale items including furniture, desks, shelving and nearly anything else that can be assembled from blocks.
The ongoing project – currently titled Construction System, Version 108 – features 19 different components that can each be 3D printed on a desktop 3D printer and assembled into literally thousands of different durable structures.
To create the set, Allen modeled the parts in SolidWorks before slicing them using both Simplify3D and MakerWare. Once the parts have been prepped, he sends them to a 3D printer farm that features six connected MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers to be printed. In his 108th iteration of the system, Allen has logged thousands of 3D printing hours and – it goes without saying – has the design of the freely-downloadable construction system completely optimized.
Whether you’re in need of a new chair or simply want to make use of that extra filament you have laying around, you can check out Allen’s system for yourself by heading over to the project’s Thingiverse page.