Dec 22, 2014

Space Weaver 3d prints ultra lightweight woven structures from carbon and fiberglass

Space Weaver isa DIY 3d printer that makes woven 3d structures from carbon fiber and fiberglass. The machine is based on hacked Shapeoko CNC and custom design gantry. It produces very light intricate structures that don't have any purpose now, but I could see than as ultralight antenna poles, decorative elements or even plant support. Area of carbon fiber and fiberglass DIY projects is just emerging and we could see much more practical applications and projects in the future.


  

From project description:
Space Weaver is a student-designed 3D weaving machine created by Prerna Auplish, Evan Bowman, and Ryan Chen at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The machine was created in the Digital Craft Lab (http://digitalcraft.cca.edu/) Creative Architecture Machines Advanced Studio with instructors Michael Shiloh and Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab (http://www.future-cities-lab.net/).
Space Weaver is designed to create ultra-lightweight woven structures with fibrous materials. Using a 3-axis gantry system, woven forms are created in a similar process as most 3D printers, except they produce a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio, result in zero waste, and require no support material. In short, Space Weaver is a seven foot tall 3D printer that uses carbon fiber and fiberglass to print five foot tall woven structures.
The project has been divided into three categories and their major components. These categories are:
  • Machine: frame and build plate, mechanical components, CNC gantry, electronics, and spools
  • Programming: TinyG and Grasshopper/Firefly scripts
  • Material Research: resin and fiber experiments 
  • Frame dimensions: 84” x 32” x 28”
  • Build plate dimensions: 17 ½” x 19 ½”
  • The majority of the frame was welded out of 60’ of 1” x 1” square tube carbon steel, with 1” flat bar mounting tabs. A steel frame is not necessary, however rigidity is very important for ensuring CNC accuracy. This machine has a relatively large Z-height (5’), and an exposed build plate (print bed). The exposed design of the build plate is based on the desire to emphasize the importance of the printed objects, as well as to provide ease of serviceability.
  • The build plate has its own smaller steel frame, with two routed ½” birch plywood sheets to hold a sheet of glass.

All the technical details, files, software and instructions to make this weaver yourself can be found at:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Space-Weaver-A-Seven-Foot-Tall-3D-Weaving-Machine/?ALLSTEPS

You can se video of Space Weaver weaving a structure here:

http://www.instructables.com/file/FCMKYZRI3PRHPB1/

For a professional desktop carbon fiber and fiberglass 3d printer look at Mark One.