Fluid In.Flux is a 3D printing experimental machine which prints wax in water. The Machine was a semester-wide exploration as part of the Advanced Architecture Studio called "Creative Architecture Machines" by Professor Jason Kelly Johnson and Michael Shiloh at the California College of the Arts, in San Francisco.
Fluid In.Flux is about exploring material behavior in different conditions and developing an innovative method of digital fabrication. The project aims at abstracting the input geometry and creating imprecise abstract forms through precise machine operations. These imprecise abstractions are the result of the material system of the project. The material system involves the articulated ejection of hot liquid wax in cool water, taking advantage of wax’s buoyancy, rapid phase change and wax’s ability to fuse and bond to itself and other materials. Water is used as a catalyst to solidify wax rapidly and fabricate additively in the process.The scope of the project is a form generator, to develop digitally controlled construction systems. Projecting it onto an architectural scale, autonomous machines can be deployed onto fresh water basins to create buildings, cities possibly, under water opening up to a wide range of potential applications.
The machine was designed, assembled and calibrated by Architecture students at California College Of The Arts - Darshini Shah, Ibrahim AlGwaiz and Swetha Kopuri. Please feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or feedback. Happy to share and help!

Step 1: Building the Machine

1. The machine essentially has 4 components -
    1.1 Wax Reservoir and Tower
    1.2 Machine Armature - 1/4" thk Plywood
    1.3 Water Tank - 1/4" thk Acrylic
    1.4 Electric Components and Tower.

<p>Do you have a video of this machine in action?</p>
This is a brilliant way to create solid shapes molded by actual fluid dynamics. Your process and results are inspiring and impressive. I love the flowing and organic quality of the models. Beautiful work!
I'm torn between going for engineering or architecture, but if this is what architects do for fun, I may have found my calling. This is brilliant.
Most architecture programs don't do stuff like this. <br>This is an experimental advanced architecture class developed by Jason Kelly Johnson at California College of the Arts and it was open to 4th and 5th year arch undergrads and grads. <br>Engineering might still be a good option for you then you can study architecture in grad school. One of the students in this class is an engineering grad student and he thinks architecture has a much larger work load than engineering although they are both hard so I'm assuming that won't deter you. <br>I hope that helped and check out CCA. Its a very unique college
And then Lost-wax casting, talking about detailed casting...
thats what I was thinking, lost wax casting, use this machine to make a wax copy of an object designed on a 3D program then use the wax in lost wax casting to make a metal version of it.
I wonder how different the results would be with chilled water. <br> <br>Or mineral oil... That's how they make lava lamps.
This is a cool contraption, thanks for sharing! <br> <br> How well does it do solid shapes, say, a head or something? And undercuts, i.e. wax with no support downwards, only to the sides? <br> <br>On new year's eve, we used to light tealights and once the wax was completely molten we tossed it (carefully) into a bowl of cold water. We then tried to guess what the shape could mean as a &quot;prediction&quot; for the coming year. This kinda reminds me of that, although of course it is a much more technical approach.
Yes! It does solid shapes. But the output is way more complex and interesting than the output. It can do undercuts very well because wax is buoyant and holds its shape on the water surface. We tried one print where the top part was cantilevered on the slender support like a tree and it came out pretty well. You can check out some input output comparisions here. <br>https://www.dropbox.com/s/73dxy51k37523qz/InputOutput_InFLux.pdf
This is so cool. I've thought about trying to make a wax 3d printer in order to do lost wax casting. I hadn't ever thought of printing it directly into the water though, that's ingenious.
Thanks! Printing wax in water is a great idea because the reaction of hot wax and cold water produces amazing artefacts.
I totally agree. The randomness of the hot wax+water and the artifacts are crazy cool. <br><br>I just think it would be sweet to take this and do some bronze castings with it. You could really make some incredibly intricate lost wax molds utilizing this that would be very difficult to make by hand. <br><br>Goodness... I'm so excited I may just break out my arduino and start figuring out how to actually do more with it than just make the LED blink so that I can make something like this. Thanks!

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