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The Printer Masters

Simultaneously great disruptor and gimmicky hobbyist toy, 3D-printing is an indisputable creative outlet. We look at projects both grounded and flighty, that make use of the technology

Photo: Divergent 3D

Divergent 3D Blade. Supercar styling that is also sustainable: the production of the Blade’s carbon-fibre and aluminium parts is, compared to conventional coachbuilding methods, extremely low in CO2 emissions. As a result, it’s up to 90 per cent lighter than your average vehicle. Fitted with a 700HP engine, the Blade could achieve up to 100kph in just 2.2 seconds.

Photo: Getty / threeASFOUR
threeASFOUR. Printed outfits that are as sturdy as a knight’s armour – but that’s presumably the only comparison you can draw between cutting-edge brand threeASFOUR and the Middle Ages. Founded in 2005 by Gabriel Asfour, Anglea Donhauser and Adi Gil, the brand releases its avant-garde designs in twice-yearly collections. Customers are said to include, perhaps unsurprisingly, Björk and Yoko Ono.

Photo: Janne Kyttanen

Janne Kyttanen. A pioneer in the fields of both 3D printing and virtual reality, artist-designer Janne Kyttanen’s Metsidian table is a shimmering, material contradiction melding chrome to obsidian for a volcanic, sculptural statement – an alchemist’s masterpiece.

Photo: CurVoxels
CurVoxels. Verner Panton’s plastic chair design from the 1950s – credited as the first such plastic model (Vitra would only go on to produce their first line in 1967) – serves as a clear forebear behind CurVoxels Design Research Group's effort. This cantilever chair is possible thanks to the computational design methodology of CurVoxels, a research group comprised of students from Bartlett School of Architecture whose focus is on additive manufacturing and, as demonstrated by the chair above, 3D printing.

Photo: MX3D
MX3D. Printed from stainless steel, MX3D’s bicycle is probably not the lightest. It is, however, unarguably elegant and shapely in form. Its Dutch developers, appropriately so for a bicycle-mad city such as Amsterdam, are also printing a steel bridge for this concept to ride across. A technological evolution that incorporates multi-axis robots into the production process, this is avant-garde design at its sci-fi coolest.

Image: Institute for Digital Archaeology
Institute for Digital Archaeology. When ISIS terrorists destroyed the Triumphal Arch in the Syrian city of Palmyra, a cultural monument was thought lost forever. In the business of preserving cultural heritage at risk from conflict and nature, the Institute for Digital Archaeology has succeeded in reconstructing parts of the over 2,000-year-old monument, in their original size, with the help of the world’s largest 3D printer. The reconstructed arch will travel to Oxford for display in July and August, and then on to New York for a September showing.

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