3D Printed Pavilion Contains 2000 Unique Bricks

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Bricks, typically, are pretty uniform. Some of them may be a bit smaller or larger, but overall they tend to be the same rectangular shape. That’s not the case with the bricks in a recently built pavilion in Hong Kong. This pavilion, named the Ceramic Constellation Pavilion, is made up of about 2,000 bricks, each one a different shape and size. The effect is quite marvelous – a twisting, rippling tower with areas that vary in their solidity.

The pavilion was built by the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and funded by Sino Group, one of Hong Kong’s leading property companies. It was engineered by Goman Ho and Alfred Fong of Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong Ltd. The Ceramic Constellation Pavilion was built in the first workshop of what’s being called the Sino Group Robotic Architecture Series, and it brings together new technology with an old material, clay, which has a long tradition of use in Hong Kong.

Each of the bricks was 3D printed from terracotta clay in a process that took about three weeks; each individual brick took only two to three minutes to print. They were then fired at a temperature of 1025ºC. The pavilion structure, which has a wooden base, was then assembled by architecture students in a 10-day workshop. The 3.8-meter-tall pavilion is load-bearing as well as being decorative, and each one of its faces shows different levels of opacity and transparency.

About 700 kg of clay was used to fabricate the structure, and the 3D printing was carried out in the new Robotics Lab at the HKU Faculty of Architecture.

“In a context that has been largely shaped by standardization and mass production, the project seeks to overcome the constraints of today’s architectural production through the introduction of a structure made entirely of non-standard components,” state the architects in the project description.

The project is only the first in the collaboration between the HKU Faculty of Architecture and Sino Group; the partnership will be an ongoing one aimed at examining new technology in architecture.

“The research initiative that supports arts, cultures, and technology is intended to foster cultural awareness of new technologies for the built environment,” the architects explain.

The Ceramic Constellation Pavilion is one more example of how 3D printing can create unique architectural structures. Several other pavilions have been created using 3D printing, each drastically different from anything else. A lightweight 3D printed biopolymer pavilion arched over Milan earlier this year, and a massive 3D printed bamboo pavilion was featured at last year’s Design Miami/ event. Beijing unveiled a beautiful, record-setting 3D printed pavilion inspired by silkworms, and a year later a Guinness World Record was snatched by the geometric 3D printed Rise Pavilion.

The HKU architects describe the Ceramic Constellation Pavilion as “one of the first of its kind in the world that incorporates this specific material system,” and that’s the beauty of these examples of architectural 3D printing. Each of these pavilions produced with 3D printing is unlike anything that has ever been built before, and demonstrates how 3D printing is capable of taking architecture from uniformity to uniqueness.

The Ceramic Constellation Pavilion was on exhibit for part of the summer and will soon be moved to the campus of HKU.

Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your comments below.

[Source/Images: University of Hong Kong]

This magical 3D printed dish reveals an image when you pour soy sauce into it

Sep 2, 2017 | By Tess

A Japanese programmer who goes by the Twitter handle “nue” has created a 3D printed dish that reveals a stunning image when soy sauce is poured into it.

When it comes to merchandising, it takes a lot to impress us, especially when franchises such as Star Wars pull out all the stops for their products. Sometimes, however, it’s not the official merchandise that is the most exciting, but what fans create themselves with 3D design and printing—this 3D printed Hodor doorstop for instance. Recently, we were blown away by another piece of unofficial 3D printed merchandise created by Japanese Twitter user “nue”: a 3D printed soy sauce dish that reveals an anime character when soy sauce is poured in.

It’s the type of thing you really have to see to believe, and we can imagine that it took the maker a long time to design and perfect. As you can see in the photo, when filled, the 3D printed dish reveals a stunningly clear image of an anime character, specifically Darjeeling from the anime series Girls und Panzer. The series, for those unfamiliar with recent anime, centered on a girl’s high school tank warfare competition (intriguing, right?).

To make the dish, nue first had to digitally design an image of Darjeeling and then carefully applied different depths to the 3D model. Essentially, the different colors that appear when soy sauce is poured into the dish occur from varying depths of the condiment—the deeper the section, the darker the color. And while the concept seems relatively simple, we can imagine figuring out how deep to print certain grooves for a high contrast was quite a challenging and specific task.

For instance, looking at the outline of the hair, as well as the highlights on the hair and eyes, it is clear that nue was not prepared to sacrifice any detail for the Girls und Panzer soy sauce dish. Based off the photo, it truly looks like a sepia render of the anime character’s face, and not like something you could dip a piece of sushi into.

If you’re inspired by nue’s work, you can always take a look at the maker’s 3D models and design diagrams for the 3D printed dish. We can only imagine how long it will take for other makers to step up to the challenge and create condiment receptacles that reveal their own favorite characters or even hidden messages. Just imagine sitting down to a lunch, pouring sauce in your dish only to find Jon Snow looking back at you!

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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3D Printed Surfboard is Good for the Environment

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If you walk across any college campus, you’ll probably see several recycling bins piled high with plastic bottles. Most people barely notice those bins, looking at them only when they need to discard a bottle themselves, but Dr. Nathaniel Petre of Imperial College London looked at the piles of plastic bottles and thought “I could make a surfboard out of those.”

Why not? Dr. Petre isn’t the first person to have the idea of 3D printing a surfboard, but the board he created may be the most eco-friendly one 3D printed yet, and it shows a lot of promise for more sustainable – and less expensive – surfboard production in the future. The surfboard was a serious project that received seed funding from NASA, and Dr. Petre worked with colleagues to 3D print the board in sections. Some of the sections were 3D printed from plastic bottles melted down and extruded into filament, and the rest of it was printed with filament from ALGIX, which creates materials from an invasive diatomic algae.

“It is really satisfying to think that we can take an invasive lake algae, which is literally sucking the air and life out of lakes in the USA and use it as a sustainable material for surfboard manufacture,” Dr. Petre said. “What is evident from this pilot project is that not only is there a potential future in for printed boards, but that there’s an opportunity to print more things from waste or compostable material provided you have a big enough printer.”

Dr. Nathaniel Petre and Zachary Ostroff

Many of the surfboards that have been 3D printed before have been prototypes only, but Dr. Petre’s board is durable enough for regular use, in addition to being cheaper and more sustainable to produce than other boards. 3D printing also allows surfboard designers to approach their designs from a more creative angle. Dr. Petre himself was inspired by dolphins when he designed his board, appropriately dubbed the Dolphin Board of Awesome.

The Dolphin Board of Awesome is currently being tried out by Dr. Petre’s colleague Zachary Ostroff off the coast of California. While this particular board was 3D printed in sections and then later assembled, Dr. Petre has received a grant from the Imperial College Hackspace that will allow him to develop a larger 3D printer, which can then be used to 3D print a surfboard all in one piece.

So the Dolphin Board of Awesome is only the beginning, then. Dr. Petre has also partnered with Surfdome, one of Europe’s largest surf retailers, to 3D print a surfboard out of plastic trash from beaches. That board will be put on permanent display at the Eden Project in Cornwall, but it won’t be a surprise if Dr. Petre and his colleagues end up 3D printing additional surfboards from plastic found along beaches. As these makers have shown, 3D printing is a fast, inexpensive way to create surfboards, and plastic trash is something that is always readily accessible – especially if you’re someone, like a surfer, who spends a lot of time on the beach. Who says beach cleanup can’t be fun?

Discuss in the 3D Printed Surfboard forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Imperial College London]