Low-Hanging Fruit - An Exploration of Procedural Modelling Tools to make Voxel Printing more Accessible
Recent advances in 3D printing technology have opened up voxel-based printing, which allows for control of the material of every sub-millimetre droplet that makes up the structure of a printed object. This full microstructure control opens up the ability to 3D print functionally graded materials. Typically, making dynamic objects involves using assemblies of discrete mono-material parts, each with distinct functions. Functionally graded materials instead allow for the creation of multi-functional single objects composed of complex heterogeneous material blends, gradually altering material properties to achieve their dynamic function. Current CAD and 3D-modelling tools and workflows are set up for the creation of assemblies of mono-material parts, where the designer only defines the outside shape of each part; this makes them inadequate for the full volume control needed to define every single droplet during voxel printing. While there has been some progress made in developing tools to address this problem, these tools currently require a high level of expertise to properly utilise. With this research, we seek to address this high barrier to entry by exploring intuitive digital workflows for making gradient material blends and utilising procedural modelling tools to create systems that allow designers to digitally tailor complex parts using simple parameter adjustments.