Taking advantage of the TPE (specially formulated thermoplastic elastomer), I did a series of study with my Printrbot Simple Metal, testing out both the limit of the material and the printer. Such as printing larger volume with a relatively smaller printer which could offer better accuracy, and print flexible material with bi-stable units to create shape-memory structure. I applied all the ideas from these studies to my architecture design afterwards, creating products and spaces with flexibility and adaptability, as wells as new ways of interaction between human and product, even more, between individuals with these potential produces.
Step 1: How to Model It.
With an architect background, making complicated structure with simple geometry always leads to make units and components first. But this time I embraced the 3D print way of thinking about geometry. I thought more about how to generate a geometry with continuous plan/section in order to make the print nice and highly functional.
So I model the geometry with continuous surfaces and gave them the pin points to touch with every adjacent surfaces to make the whole geometry work as one.
Step 2: How to Print It.
Then I use Spark by Autodesk to slice the model for 3D print. I used my Printrbot Metal Simple. It was a simple printer with a 6X6X6 print volume. I choose Ninja-flex as material. (This model I used the Semi-flex, but then I figured out a way to print the super-flex ones too) I used the speed of 30 to 50 and temperature of 190 (I used the transparent material, from temperature of 190 to 210, the transparency goes from super clear transparent to foggy white).
Step 3: What Can It Be.
After this I took one more step here to study the potential function of the structure. Starting from small scale, I looked into apparel design.
Step 4: Other Geometry.
I also tried other different geometries using the same material and printer. The most successful one is this strip with relatively strong structure along the short edge and super flexible along the long edge.