Bones to Bricks

This paper “From Bones to Bricks” by Alvin Huang describes design and fabrication of Durotaxis Chair and La Burbuja Lamp. Drawing inspiration from the variable density structures of bones and the self-supported cantilvers of corbelled brick arches, the Durotaxis Chair and the La Burbuja lamp explore a material-based design process by responding to the challenge of designing a 3D print, rather than 3D printing a design. As such, the fabrication method and materiality of 3D printing define the generative design constraints that inform the geometry of each.

Both projects are seen as experiments in the design of 3D printed three-dimensional space packing structures that have been designed specifically for the machines by which they are manufactured. The geometry of each project has been carefully calibrated to capitalize on a selection of specific design opportunities enabled by the capabilities and constraints of additive manufacturing. The Durotaxis Chair is a half-scale prototype of a fully 3D printed multi-material rocking chair that is defined by a densely packed, variable density three-dimensional wire mesh that gradates in size, scale, density, color, and rigidity.

Inspired by the variable density structure of bones, the design utilizes principal stress analysis, asymptotic stability, and ergonomics to drive the logics of the various gradient conditions. The La Burbuja Lamp is a full scale prototype for a zero-waste fully 3D printed pendant lamp. The geometric articulation of the project is defined by a cellular 3D space packing structure that is constrained to the angles of repose and back-spans required to produce un-supported 3D printing.

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