As we continue to move into an age where products can be produced at the push of a button, the question of “Will additive manufacturing ruin or enable the next generation of designers and engineers?” is one that keeps coming up.
While being able to turn a CAD model into a physical object for all stages of prototyping is certainly a benefit in one’s workflow, the ability to 3D print a chair in its entirety rather than going through the motions of creating separate parts is arguably a shortcut that diverts away from mechanical thinking.
Similar to how the digital, always-connected smartphone age has helped consumers get in touch with more handmade goods that could have been made over a hundred years ago, could the same thing be happening with today’s industrial designers and mechanical engineers who feel nauseated by the “Just Push Print” mind frame? If a recent project from Netherlands-based industrial design student Daniel de Bruin is any indication, then – yes.
“I have always had a fascination for production processes but also for natural phenomena,” says de Bruin. “I want to stay true to both these fascinations and so try to find a balance between control and chance in most of my products.”
“The shape of the print is controlled by an aluminium wire – the wire can be modified for each print. (This) results in countless variations of modeling.”
According to de Bruin, while he is grateful that digital fabrication methods – including 3D printing – enable him to produce and iterate more swiftly and efficiently than ever before, none of the products feel like his own – but rather a product of ‘this new technology’.
Aiming to reclaim ownership over his work – imperfections and all – de Bruin’s ‘This New Technology‘ is a new take on the 3D printer that omits Gcode for hand movements in what can best be described as a hand-cranked FDM 3D printer.
The machine, which makes ceramic objects, functions by a handmade pulley system that lifts and presses weight simultaneously to exert force on the clay-packed syringe. While the pressure extrudes the clay filament onto a plate, a series of gears spin at the same rate that the material is deployed to help guide the creator’s process while still keeping it a ‘handmade process’. Once a piece is ‘printed’, it is processed like a traditional ceramic piece through a kiln and glazing process.