Jan 24, 2014

3D printing rubber inflatable complex structures (the flower blossom was probably not the first)

At Victoria University of Wellington's School of Design, Richard Clarkson 3D printed these complex flower shaped objects from a soft rubber multimaterials that are inflatable and adapt to air pressure.

Recent advances in 3D printing now allow the simultaneous deposition of different build materials in a single print. In a similar way to nature, materials can be distributed seamlessly within objects for structural and functional advantage. “Blossom” explores the blending of two materials with varying physical properties transitioning from flexible to rigid. The variation offers an opportunity to generate complex forms and dynamic structures that are impossible to make by any other means. The research into applications of these Digital Materials™ has resulted in what is believed to be the world’s first inflatable 3D print. Forcing air into the cavities of the print causes it to ‘bloom’ and thereby reveal the complexity of its physical structure.
INDN 441 Supervisor: Tim Miller – Creative Digital Manufacturing. School of Design, Victoria University of Wellington. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/design
Designer: Richard Clarkson.
Supervisor: Tim Miller.
Video: Szliárd Ozorák.

If you ask me, it looks somewhat creepy when its magnified and moving ...

I wanted to check the claim that it was the worlds first air inflatable 3d printed rubber object. On youtube I found this video published in September of 2013 that shows something that looks like layer 3d printed rubber inflatable object that has a system of chambers to manipulate the shape and vibration pattern by applying pressure.