Wyly Wade

3D printing regardless of scale — New from MIT Alums

Green Thing

Rising designers and MIT alums Marcelo Coelho and Skyler Tibbits introduce hyper form, a way to print objects regardless of scale. 3-D printing has become the rallying cause for a rising generation of designers, engineers, and architects. There seems to be few limits to what the technology can do or what range of products it can spawn, from lampshades to lunar bases. Amid all the hype, however, it’s easy to neglect one key factor: Printing capabilities are directly wedded to the size of one’s printer. As home printers become more readily available, the size of their printing beds shrink. Any budding designer with a desktop 3-D printer can create an intricate scale model of the Millennium Falcon, but what about something as straightforward yet functional as a chair? It simply won’t fit inside the printing box.

MIT-based researchers and instructors Marcelo Coelho and Skylar Tibbitsteamed up to tackle this very problem. Working under a grant from Ars Electronica, the pair conceived of a whole new way to do 3-D printing. Hyperform is a new strategy for designing and printing large objects irrespective of a printer’s bed size. So not only can you print out that chair at home, you can also print a table, bed frame, and everything else you need to furnish a bedroom.


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