In what is truly a statement of raw art, today we’re taking a look at a rather progressive project put together by industrial design student Vimal Patel, a New Zealander who lives in Denmark currently. While he works with LEGO there, he also began work on a university project which entailed quite simply the making of ‘things’ with 3D filament, one ingredient, leaving basically no footprint or the need for a trash can — or even a recycling bin.
While the project is meant to be simple in its concept, the design and execution obviously took a great deal of thought and depth. Titled monomateriality, the idea was to avoid making something with multiple materials that contain a variety of somewhat toxic and non-recyclable materials. With respect to the environment, the filament was to be the center of whatever they created. It was the one ingredient.
Patel was able to sidestep the project ever so cleverly with mechanics. In keeping with the project concept, he used one of several 3D printers at his university to do some experimenting as he thought about what to do with his filament. He discovered the 3D printers on hand were able to print the filament but not with the flexibility he would require to build something like the free-form helmet he had in mind. Patel realized what he needed was some type of extruder.
Using his secret LEGO expertise, he engineered quite a complex extruder for shooting the filament out almost like a 3Doodler pen. With the LEGOs working as a mechanical unit, extruding, and connected to a hot glue gun, he was able to make a simplified version of his original idea including robotics.
No doubt having an awful lot of fun with the LEGO extruder/hot glue gun tool, he performed a number of experiments with the filament, and different shapes and designs. After producing some quite lovely squiggles in ornamental fashion, he moved on to his finishing piece, which is a helmet, fashioned loosely onto a sculptured head.
While the helmet was the central part of his project originally, ironically the star of the show was the LEGO extruder which can be downloaded and constructed.
While the project was obviously fulfilling for the LEGO enthusiast in numerous ways, what he walked away with was not only some cool designs but also the realization that there is great contemporary accessibility for making new innovations, and especially environmentally friendly ones with as little footprint as possible.
What do you think of Patel’s filament designs? Are you interested in downloading the files to build the LEGO extruder? Share your thoughts with us in the Monomateriality forum over at 3DPB.com.