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This project is all about 3D printing. As this technology evolves, it may not be long before we download a design and print it at home or the local 3d print shop without packaging waste and cross-continent shipping.
3D printing has great potential to change how mass production affects product design. 

The search for a design that can be produced only in 3D printing led me to eventually create a toy for the bath.



A Shower Mate



A search for uniqueness

Instead of designing and adjusting the design to the manufacturing method, I did the other way around.

First, I chose the manufacturing technology (FDM - fused deposition modelling). Allowing the attributes of the manufacturing method to lead the process will enable me to look for unique uses of the 3D printer and its abilities.

I wanted to find that special thing you can produce ONLY in 3d printing, and ideally for 3D printing.

It means the design shouldn't require supports or assembly and can rely on advantages like infill adjustments and integral joints.

3D-printed solid plastic mesh that looks and feels like fabric


Reverse Engineering

Zooming in on this mesh revealed a complex system that begins with a single intelligent unit. Then, each of these smart links repeats itself in a way that leaves enough space for a movement to create this magical pattern and allows continuity in two axes.

Further observation on a single link amazed me even more. Every link is independent; however, printing multiple units combines an assembled mesh. Later it hit me that designing a link correctly would eliminate the use of supports.

Injection moulding will never be able to create an object like that.

3D printing 1 - Injection moulding 0


Where and what

This mesh movement was fascinating. However, it should be placed on a dynamic surface to allow this unique movement to happen constantly.

The water surface was a great solution at first, but it sunk when I placed the mesh in, just like any other solid plastic object that will behave.

At this stage, I was an expert in these links and could bend the rules to my need. Therefore, I have thickened the links and set the infill to 0%.

In other words, the links are now hollow, and the mesh floats.

3D printing 2 - Injection moulding 0

Knowing I am looking for something that is basically a carpet living in the water, nothing matches this brief more than a Sting Ray.




Form vs. Function

Visually, I was looking for a dense pattern with tiny gaps and a precise shape of the sting ray. Technically, I was looking for a mesh with lots of space to breathe and move freely. But, unfortunately, each parameter that improves one aspect deteriorates the other.

Eventually, I found the right balance. Other actions, like removing the middle bridge and rounding the corners, were visually appealing without harming the movement.



In Hebrew, 'Huliot' means links

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