Ioan Florea is becoming quite the celebrity lately. He is probably most famous for his 3D printed liquid metal Ford Gran Torino, which was recently on display at the 2014 New York Auto Show. It is a masterpiece, one that Florea tells us took 150 prototypes to create. By prototypes, Florea is referring to the mold-like 3D printed objects that are used to create the liquid metal parts.
I personally got to admire the Gran Torino and one of Florea’s latest projects, his 3D printed house, in person back in April. I also had the opportunity to speak with Florea. You can certainly tell that he is extremely passionate about what he does, and has dedicated hours upon hours to perfecting his art.
FLOREA’S 3D PRINTED HOUSE & A PEAK INSIDE
Florea’s 3D printed house may just be even more amazing than his Gran Torino, if that is even possible. While it is not yet 100% complete, Florea has pretty elaborate plans for the liquid metal house. Not only will the exterior be 3D printed, but the interior walls, furniture and appliances will be as well.
The house was created using one of the world’s largest 3D printers, courtesy of Voxeljet, and is based on the late Mike Kelly’s ‘Mobile Homestead’. The idea came about because Florea wanted to explore the concept of the ‘American Dream’ , which in most cases means owning a home and a car. Florea was kind enough to share with us a photo of the 3D printed Maytag dishwasher that will be part of the interior of his house.
The idea came to Florea for the house design a while back, when he was visiting Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain.
“You proably can see Gaudi’s influence reflected in my own organic shapes,” Florea explained to 3DPrint.com. “Gaudi used a subtractive process of traditional sculpture, to create his amazing works. I use an additive process to build my surfaces.”
It hasn’t been easy for Florea to transport his house from location to location. He had to specifically design it to meet the highway requirements and had to make sure not to exceed 70 mph during any road trips.
The goal is to have as much as possible of the house done using his 3D printing technique. Florea is working around the clock to finish all of the furniture. The interior walls will be 3D printed, and together with the exterior walls, will act as a pretty good insulator, he told us.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR FLOREA? A 3D PRINTED SUBMARINE?
I asked Florea if he had any plans for future projects once his 3D printed house is complete. While he was a bit hesitant to disclose his plans, he told me that he may work on a 3D printed submarine or airplane. I again recently asked him if he still has plans for attempting to design a 3D printed submarine.
He responded, “I am thinking, ‘yes’ a submarine would be great. I have some ideas that I am working to bring into reality. The bigger the challenge, the more interesting it becomes for me. I am exploring different materials and different options and locations both in [the] US and Europe for my next projects. I am trying to use local renewable materials and adapt them to my techniques, depending on the location where the project will be created.”
It will certainly be interesting to see which projects Florea attempts next, but for now he remains focused on finishing the 3D printed house.
Florea also informed us that he has been exploring a collaboration with car manufacturers, where he would provide some sort of “kit” that includes his abstract shapes, for high end cars. We asked him how his technology could be used.
“After spending 2 weeks at the New York International auto show, I realized the huge potential for the auto industry, ” said Florea. “In my vision the auto makers will be able to launch one car model with hundreds of customized variations, serving different groups of consumers. In my opinion, designing one model car, appliance, etc. and trying to market and force all the consumers to accept [them] is limiting. Also I see the future with 3D printed electric cars and bicycles.”
WHAT GOES INTO THE PROCESS?
Florea collaborates on his projects with one of the worlds largest 3D printer manufacturers, Voxeljet. For each project, he is given ‘prototypes’ which undergo numerous steps to reach their final liquid metal finish. Some of the prototypes cost upwards of $10,000 a piece, but because of his studio’s collaboration with the company, he doesn’t end up having to pay this sum. He wouldn’t elaborate on what their agreement was, but said that it is for an “exchange of services”.
“The prototype shapes undergo numerous steps to reach their final liquid metal finish,” Florea told us. “It is a very complicated process, involving many materials and many techniques adapted by me, from different fields. I can say that I use almost all the technologies available. At the end of the process the prototypes are intact and the results are these seamless textures containing hundreds of original shapes. I kind of try to keep my techniques private, leaving room for interpretation.”
FLOREA & THE FUTURE OF 3D PRINTING
Like I stated previously, I had the opportunity to meet Florea at the “Inside 3D Printing” Conference in NYC last month. This was a conference that Florea himself had the honor of titling, “3D Printing Show and Conference – The Third Industrial Revolution”. Perhaps this is a telling tale of the influence in which Florea is beginning to gain among the 3D printing industry, and the future of customization in technology. Many, like Florea believe that 3D printing is in fact a ‘third industrial revolution’. Only time will tell for sure.
“We might not be aware [of it], but these are revolutionary times,” explained Florea. “Going back in history, and looking at ancient civilizations, we can see the desire to shape rocks, sandstone, and metals, into gigantic object sculptures and artifacts. The cuneiform writing, the Egyptian hieroglyphs, and the sculptures in the Gaudi Sagrada Familia; they predicted and paved the way to this new tool that will revolutionize and change everything.”
What do you think Florea should create next? Discuss that and more about Florea’s incredibly unique designs in the Ioan Florea thread on 3DPB.com. Be sure to check out some of the other photos below.