Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Robotic Spatial Printing For Designers

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posted on 2023-09-26, 01:36 authored by Gilbertson, Liam

This research developed a fully-integrated robotic printing system, using new methods of additive manufacture (AM) that enables users to explore spatially printed structures with increased freedom of geometric complexity.  Current AM technologies, such as Fusion Deposition Modelling (FDM), can rapidly translate design ideations into solid forms by precisely depositing consecutive layers of material in coordination with the movements of a robotic platform. Using this method, solid objects are digitally deconstructed into linear toolpaths and physically reconstituted with thermoplastic extrusion equipment; the toolpath becomes the form.  Spatial printing, using methods such as those demonstrated in this research, offers a new way of building 3D forms. By harnessing the potential of FDM equipment and materials for generating self-supporting structures, the user can create complex free-standing structures unshackled from the layered constraints of typical additive manufacturing processes. Here, the user acts as an informed negotiator between digital form and physical manifestation where movement realises form.  A complete spatial printing system was built that harnesses the complexity of robotic movements and responds to the needs of printing materials through a feedback loop that draws from the results of experimentation. Bespoke printing equipment and computational processes strive to improve the craft qualities and printability of input materials with a specific focus on compatibility with co-extrusion biopolymer filaments developed by Scion. This thesis illustrates the development of a versatile spatial printing system and subsequent investigations into the craft qualities and freedom of complexity that this system offers to designers and architects.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License


Degree Discipline

Industrial Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design


Miller, Tim; Sweet, Kevin