Massachusetts-based design studio Nervous System has recently made use of 3D printing technology to explore the possibility of creating self-forming structures by printing on stretched fabric. The basic idea behind the project was to make pieces of fabrics form into specific 3D shapes, by printing different patterns of plastic on to them while they were stretched. This printed plastic inhibits the contraction of the surface, guiding the stretched fabric to take its desired shape when it is released.
Nervous System has been working at the intersection of science, art, and technology since it was founded back in 2007, by MIT grads Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg. The studio creates unique and affordable products by using a novel process that employs computer simulation of natural phenomena to generate designs, and then digital fabrication techniques like 3D printing to realize them.
This latest self-forming fabric structure project was carried out primarily by Nervous System intern Gabe Fields. This project is similar to the studio’s earlier Floraform 3D printing project, which digitally developed a set of remarkable flower-like structures. Also, the idea of designing a 3D printed object in such a way that it will transform into the desired shape in a final stage after printing, by “programming” this final transformation into the structure, is the basic principle behind what has sometimes been referred to as 4D printing.
thumbnail courtesy of 3ders.org