Tuesday, June 5, 2012

print, print, print...

As indicated in the previous post, we have not been siting idle the last year, in this post an overview of some of the stuff we've been printing in porcelain.

Please note that while all the information on paste extrusion and other development shared elsewhere on this blog is open and free to use when attributed, the images of our work enclosed in this post and the actual designs pictured in them are copyrighted and ownership of Unfold. All pictures are by Unfold unless otherwise indicated. If you want to use these images in a publication, please ask permission: hello@unfold.be
Update: Sorry for putting it so seriously here upfront but we had some issues in the past with this and I wanted to clarify this better. By all means feel free to use them in blogposts on our work, attribute us and the photographer and link back to this blog or our website www.unfold.be

Let's start with the latest work, a carafe and set of cups that we made for the design fair in Milan last month. This was shown as part of the Belgian presentation PERSPECTIVES at the Triennial di Milano. The cups are already more than a year old but the carafe is the first functional object based on the formal and structural tests shown further down in this post.

photo by Annelies Vaneycken
The cups originally were just a testbed to see how a twisted square polygon results in subtly folded triangle patterns. Its a single parametric cup from which we created 64 variations with different amounts of segments in the radial and vertical direction, 4 survived all with only two steps in the height.

photo: Kristof Vrancken

photo: Kristof Vrancken
photo: Kristof Vrancken
The carafe is a story an-sich because 90 percent of the design in actually not done in 3d software but designed straight in vector tool paths, only the basic outside shell is a 3d file, all infill and the folded structure are designed using our own custom software called Gcode Stacker which takes SVG vector files as input and spits out Gcode. Every SVG layer is a Gcode layer. This gives finer control over machine paths and enables you to do stuff impossible in 3d>Gcode toolchains like for example intersecting lines. Gcode Stacker is experimental and developed together with Indianen. I will spend another post on this in the future but here are some screenshots so you get the idea:

Illustrator top view of layers plus faux 3d 'preview' 
Detail of layers in Illustrator
Base of the vase SVG loaded in Gcode Stacker

The carafe is the first experiment in a series of objects that are based on research done last year with two terrific interns here at the studio: Linde and Arthur. The goal is to create objects that are more structural and in which there is an interplay between an inside complex structure and a shell like you see in many organic things like plant cut throughs, seeds, diatoms etc. We also looked at origami and folding, medieval ornaments (Arthurs favorite), double walled structures and much more. The various test objects were designed in 3d, in Illustrator or in a combination of both. We filled tables with source material and printed lots of things in plastic. A selection of those was then tested in porcelain. Here you see a table with sources and plastic prints up for discussion:

And some of the results in porcelain, we often try to use the same diameters and repetitions so we can compose them into stacks to see how it looks:

photo: Kristof Vrancken
photo: Kristof Vrancken

photo: Kristof Vrancken

One nice benefit of designing in tool paths is the ability to draw
 a single line that intersects itself.

Next some new prints from l'Artisan Électronique, the installation we did in 2010 in which the ceramic printer is combined with a virtual pottery wheel on which visitors can shape designs that we print, fire and exhibit as part of the presentation. The installation has been traveling a lot since then and we got over 10.000 user submitted designs (very large percentage unprintable btw). In the beginning we printed 10 cm high, later 15 and now the max size of 20 cm height (which shrinks to about 17cm). We print them with a rather course layer height of around 1mm to emphasize the traces of the making process. The small accidents are something we nurture.

part of the print farm :)

And last but not least some spectacular failures:

Voila, a small selection of the hundreds of prints from the last year. We will soon launch a small webshop section on our website www.unfold.be were you can buy a selection of printed items. At the moment any serious production is out of the question until we find that holy reliable extruder :)

The post on auger/screw extruders is almost finished so thats up next.