London Design week is a fantastic spectacle of fashion, architecture, interiors and products; and it was only correct that 3D printing should feature in the mix. Last weekend marked the end of London Design Week. We headed over to Earl’s Court to catch the final day of 100% Design and help out with the RSA’s Great Recovery stand.
Jim with his Emaker Huxley at RSA’s stand for 100% Design
The Great Recovery is all about challenging the lifecycle of products and designing for a circular-economy model. In addition there were talks from Daniel Charny, the curator of the V&A’s Power of Making exhibition, and James Carrigan, co-Founder and Creative Director of Sugru. They were talking about Fixperts.org, a project looking at how using design thinking can help fix everyday problems. Of course these projects are a great fit with the 3D printing and maker movement.
Talks included James Carrigan and Daniel Charny introducing their Fixperts project
The RSA’s stand was a bold statement amongst the slick and minimalist displays. Shelves filled broken electrical items surrounded volunteers busily fixing things. Jim was there with his Emaker Huxley printing out spare parts and replacements in Faberdashery neon colours. The printer was a real crowd pleaser with reactions ranging from sage head nodding to pure open-mouthed amazement.
The printer drew a lot of interest
It was great to see the buzz and excitement generated by the printer. When you are so deeply immersed in the world of 3D printing it is easy to forget that feeling of amazement on seeing your first print. Despite the explosion of the home 3D printing market and the attention it gets in the press it is still only small (but fabulous) proportion of people with machines. It was inspiring just to experience the delight on people’s faces as they watched a product emerge before their eyes. As one amazed onlooker said: “It’s alchemy I tell you!” Alchemy, sorcery, magic, whatever you want to call it. It’s here. We call it fabbing.
The KamerMaker is the world’s first movable 3D print pavillion. Capable of 3D printing entire rooms from PLA, this is one of the biggest printers around. It has an epic build size of 2x2x3.5m! The project is a collaboration between DUS architects and Ultimaker Ltd and is purposely open source. From 2013 onwards, the KamerMaker will travel to different locations in the Netherlands and beyond.
We were lucky enough to be at the launch party in Amsterdam last weekend. The event had a real block party feel with great community interaction. We got a fantastic view from inside of the machine. Yes, that’s right, you can climb inside it! Printing this big is no easy task. Although the machine is driven essentially by standard Ultimaker electronics with the beating heart of an Arduino (plus some industrial stepper drivers) feeding the plastic in requires some innovative solutions. A mini-extruder (from xtrution.com) feeds the KamerMaker with molten plastic. Thermoplastic granules are fed in the top, melted and extruded along a monstrous ‘bowden’ tube to the print head. The tube is heated PTFE with steel braiding. It is an elegant solution with pretty awesome results. The design of the machine is really beautiful, with mirrored, chameleon stainless steel finish, fitting inside a standard shipping container.
It was really inspiring to see a concept put into action. Big dreams are great. Making them a reality is even better. Already we are seeing huge potential for the KamerMaker. We would love to know your thoughts. If you could print this big, what would you print?
To see more images of the mighty KamerMaker take a look at our Flickr stream.