The language of 3D printing

3D printing is a fascinating technology as it’s very flexible and adaptable, but I’ve been wondering… what is the language of 3D printing? Every manufacturing process has a peculiar expression, be it because of the properties of the material or the limitations of the process itself. 3D printing’s flexibility allows it a wide range of expressions, we could almost say that it’s multilingual but in reality it does have its limitations. If we remove the use of support structures and take into account the need to reduce the amount of material used we start to see forms like voronoi patterns or lattices for example. I still can’t stop wondering if there is more to it than that.

This, of course, gets me thinking about generative or parametric design, something that’s quite in vogue right now. Surface patterns is now the trend amongst designers. As part of the same design generation I’m fascinated by the shapes, textures and patterns that can be achieved but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s something similar to what happened during the 90s with the ease of access to CAD software. Nowadays we see objects designed back then and we can clearly recognize them because of their rounded and organic shapes that every designer went after because the technology suddenly allowed them to achieve things that were very difficult before. Maybe 20 years from now, when we see these beautiful surfaces we’ll make similar observations regarding how access to new technologies influences the aesthetics of the period. I’m really interested in what can we take from these technologies without falling into the trappings of trend.



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