Although manufactured toy construction sets – such as Tinkertoy – have been in existence for over a century now, it wasn’t until the desktop fabrication revolution a few years ago when we started to see how the design and production of similar sets can be created at home by the consumer – in fact, it was one of the earliest examples of what 3D printing was capable of outside of a workshop or lab.
Now – less than five years later – the price of 3D printers has dropped dramatically, but the question of how a 3D printer fits into a home environment for casual users is one that, in many cases, is still waiting to be answered.
Among others who have explored the concept of how a 3D printer could better fit into the home environment include Hungarian industrial designer Ollé Gellért, a recent Product Design graduate who enters his Masters program later this year.
More recently, the designer looked back on the history of construction sets to create Print To Build, a modern and expansive joint system that is high-strength, easy to print, aesthetically-pleasing and above all else, a great example of how 3D printing can fit into the lives of casual users.
“The basic question driving my project is how we can make use desktop 3D printers as best as we can in our homes,” he explains. “This is a very current problem, because in the past the main focus was on rapid prototyping but in the future it is on rapid manufacturing – because the price of the FDM printers is decreasing greatly.
Gellért’s finished joint system consists of a number of multi-side 90, 45 and 120 degree elements that are able to connect material that is up to 8 millimeters thick – such as wood sheets – to create weight-supporting structures. The omission of any glue or fasteners makes it possible for users to build all sizes of furniture, displays, partitions quickly and easily – all just by printing new joints as they go.
“If we want to create larger objects with our printers, we should print only the small joints and we will be able to connect bigger parts from different materials,” adds Gellért. “With these experimental objects I wanted to draw attention to the importance of changing our thinking as to how to build something with 3D printers.”
Although the system is currently in a concept stage, interested users can find out more or get in touch by heading over to Gellért’s Behance page.