Designed Deposition - Freeform 3D Printing for Digitally Crafted Artefacts
Through the exploitation of new additive manufacturing (AM) processes, this research seeks to reinvent the designer as an informed mediator between the digitally defined and the physically expressed. Current 3D printing techniques generally construct an object layer by layer, building vertically in the z-axis. Recently developed, ‘freeform 3D printing’ is an AM method which builds through the deposition of material that solidifies upon extrusion. The result is free-standing material forms with diminished need for support material. Building in this spatial manner means that AM is no longer reliant on layer based techniques that are built from ground-up. Instead, motions can move simultaneously in the x, y and z axes. This increased freedom of motion allows the designer to disregard the requisite that solid forms need to be delineated prior to considering material deposition. Considering this in relationship to the design of artefacts, specific approaches that consider both form and material deposition concurrently allow the authorship of the method of making to be reclaimed. Bespoke computational processes work to encode material deposition with qualities that are tactile, visual and expressive of its making method. Considerations to structural, performative and aesthetic implications are assimilated from the onset rather than post-rationalised. Material deposition is crafted to become three-dimensionally informed and considerate of the integral nature of its making method and its output, exposing new design opportunities. Among other things, the research-through-design process suggests how parametric modelling could be used for mass-customisation and suggests a possible path for AM beyond prototyping, towards the manufacturing of bespoke products through an industrial design perspective. Through iterative abstract and application based experiments, Designed Deposition pursues an increasingly integrated process between the user, the designer, the digital and the physical, towards the creation of digitally crafted artefacts.