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In the past decade, the relationship between technology and craft has seen a significant reversal. Usually 3D printing was used to manufacture small objects, figurines and prototypes, it is now being used to construct affordable housing in the construction industry. Artists and artisans across creative fields are embracing digital tools as the new medium for human expression.
EDG, a New York architecture and engineering firm has come up with a cost-effective way to bridge technology and craft: Modern Ornamental: a new form of digital sculpture. The key lies in 3D printing.
Ornamental - Laser - Scanning - Software - Software
In developing modern ornamental, laser 3D scanning software, rendering software (like 3DSMax and Rhino) and algorithmic modeling programs allow the company to recreate virtually anything with ease. EDG then selected the right materials and 3D printing technology to make plastic molds; these would be used to produce copies of architectural ornamentation. The team began prototyping with a small MakerBot Replicator Z18.
"We focused on hollow form plastic molds for economy—to be filled with standard and colored concrete. Through exhaustive experimentation, we found the perfect balance of material cost, efficiency and strength, ensuring that the molds can be easily reproduced." says the company.
Plastic - Mold - Laser - Cut - Wire
The 3D-printed plastic mold is inlaid with a laser cut wire mesh to provide reinforcement. The final prototypes were manufactured by VoxelJet using their VoxelJet VX1000 3D printer for the casting molds and were fabricated in-house with Sika concrete.
When on site, these ornaments can reportedly be produced in as little as a day. Additionally, with stored digital catalogue of parts, architects can easily reprint a mold. "Should an element ever need repair or replacement, the could simply be removed from the building, and a new one could be reprinted and recast on-site, the same day."
Firm - Demolition - Fifth - Avenue
The firm was inspired by the pending demolition of 574 Fifth Avenue, a 1940...
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