At the Materialise World Conference last month, TCT was lucky enough to get a first hand look around a brand new 3D printing exhibition that celebrates 25 years of pioneering additive manufacturing at Materialise.
Think 4D clothing, organic structures made with sugar, eco-conscious designs and even a bit of Van Gogh.
Curated by Marta Malé-Alemany, the "Making a Difference, A Difference in Making" exhibit at the Bozar Centre in Brussels brings together renowned artists, designers, researchers and makers to showcase some of the most fascinating developments from all corners of the industry.
Here is our pick of the top 8 must see pieces:
1. The Gate
3D printing + bees = weird and wonderful organic architectural structures. Artist Tomas Libertiny set out to explore the relationship between nature and technology by 3D printing a miniature gate structure and allowing bees to deposit wax. The result was then scanned and 3D printed to show how nature's very own 3D printers can be used to collaborate on some pretty interesting projects.
2. Edible Growth
Still not convinced on the whole 3D printing food front? Perhaps these alien culinary creations will change your mind. Moving away from chocolate extruders and printing with sugar, Chloe Rutzerveld and TNO Research bring a more organic approach to the 3D printing kitchen with a healthy and sustainable food product that aims to lower the cost of food production.
3. Kinematics Dress no. 3
3D printing is fast becoming a hot topic for the fashion industry with entire catwalk shows dedicated to displaying bold and beautiful designs that give us a glimpse into what our future wardrobes could look like.
This design from Nervous System represents the next step in 3D printed design, 4D printing. Sounds gimicky, right? Well it's hard to believe that this fluid garment was printed in a compact form and unravelled to reveal complex, foldable garment composed of articulated modules.
And bonus points for showing the super power of 3D printing technology: we spoke to designer Jessica Rosenkrantz who said she hadn't even seen the dress herself as it was printed at the Materialise HQ in Belgium!
4. "Screw it Dog"
Repurposing used objects with 3D printing has been accelerated by the maker community and designer David Grass shows us how something as simple as a plastic bottle can become a useful and unique piece of homeware. Taking the form of a balloon dog, "Screw It" can be used as a storage device for dry foods. Look out for more of these creative inventions throughout the exhibition.
5. Bloom Lamp
Demonstrated by the man himself, Fried Vancraen, this lamp was 3D printed at Materialise and designed by Patrick Jouin. All parts including hinges were 3D printed in one piece to create this beautiful bud which transforms into a blossom in just one movement to both release and contain light.
6. Flower in a Blue Vase by Vincent Van Gogh
I wonder what Van Gogh would have made of the idea that centuries after he painted this humble floral composition, his work would be scanned by lasers and deposited with a machine called a Fine Art 3D printer? Confused, most likely.
Well that's exactly what researchers at the Delft University of Technology have done in a bid to reproduce some of the world's most famous works of art. Perhaps one day you could have your very own digital Van Gogh hanging in your home?
7. Degenerate Chair
Would you believe two of the primary materials used in this chair were sugar and wine? Created by Daniel Widrig the piece was 3D printed by binding micro-layers of a cocktail of sugar, plaster and sake. Busting the myth that all 3D printing is mounds of primary coloured plastic, the chair demonstrates alternative sustainable materials that can be used in conscious design.
8. FIX3D Bike Frame
Created by industrial designer James Novak, the artist takes inspiration from complex lattice structures in nature to 3D print a one-off bike frame structure that is more lightweight and stronger than traditional frames. The idea is that future athletes will be able to benefit from custom designs that are 3D printed to perfectly fit their form and riding style.
The exhibition runs until the 7th June 2015 and is free to the public. If you’re there this weekend, be sure to check out the “Repurpose everyday objects with 3D printing” workshop which shows you how 3D printing can help turn old items into everyday, useful innovations.