If there was one company which has attempted to achieve this very feat, over and over again, within the 3D printing space, it may just be Stratasys. Back in September of last year, MakerBot Co-founder Bre Pettis moved on from his position as CEO of the company he played a crucial role in developing, in order to start Bold Machines – The Innovation Workshop at Stratasys.
No one really knew just what this new workshop would encompass, other than the fact that Bre himself was taking part in creating a feature film, called Margo. For Margo, the characters would all be 3D printed on various Stratasys 3D printers located at Bold Machines’ headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. Since that time, Bold Machines has begun to release a plethora of new projects, all of which have been completely unique to the 3D printing space.
Today, Robert Steiner, General Manager at Bold Machines, has informed 3DPrint.com of a new project which was created in collaboration with Emerging Objects, and once again defies conventional thinking within the 3D printing space. We have covered various projects by Emerging Objects in the past, all of which have also been very unique themselves. For this latest project though, Emerging Objects and Bold Machines teamed up to create a 3D printed geodesic dome, called the ‘Star Lounge’.
“The Emerging Objects Geodesic Dome, with almost 2000 individual pieces, is the largest cohesive structure we’ve ever seen made out of 3D printed parts,” Steiner tells 3DPrint.com. “Being inside of it, there is a small echo and the lack of any corners in the space evokes an otherworldly feeling. This is not a normal room.”
The project, which began as collaborative discussions way back in May of 2013, took quite a lot of planning. Emerging Objects and Steiner had some very in-depth conversations about exactly which materials they would ultimately print with, and exactly which 3D printing strategies they’d utilize. The result was this amazing 3D printed room, which certainly would defy convention when speaking of architectural design.
In all, there were hundreds of hours of 3D printing involved, prior to the weeks of labor required to assemble all of the individually printed components which are held together with pop rivets. It measures a staggering 8’5″ tall, and 12′ wide, with a footprint that measures close to 11′ in diameter.
“First we assembled the star and hexagon components and then we assembled those stars and hexagons into the final project,” Steiner explains.
The completed project, which was designed by Emerging Objects and 3D printed and assembled by Bold Machines, used approximately 5000 rivets, and 1500 zip ties to hold together the 2073 individual 3D printed parts. Quite the amazing accomplishment, one which should go down in 3D printing history.
“The range of colors and their translucent properties create beautiful effects.” Bre Pettis, co-founder and former CEO of MakerBot Industries commented, “This project really pushed the limits of 3D printing and showed what is possible when a team has the desire to push a design to the limit.”
Bold Machines was able to use their BotFarm of over 100 3D printers to print the components out much faster than it would have taken on just a handful of 3D printers. Two blocks could be printed on each printer without support in just a little over one hour. Only 28 different block types were created, in order to make up the curved structure, and each and every one had a number printed on the inside, facilitating in the assembly. The pattern on the ‘Star Lounge’ is similar to what you would find on traditional American quilts or Islamic geometric motifs.
What do you think about this incredible project? Discuss in the Geodesic Dome forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the build video below, as well some additional photos, and stay tuned for a lot more coming from Bold Machines later this week!