I recently read an article by Dan Howarth on www.dezeen.com about a new innovation in the field of 3-D printing that may surprise you. Researchers at MIT have partnered with Steelcase Inc. to develop a process they call Rapid Liquid Printing that changes 3-D printing as we know it and may make it possible to manufacture custom furniture in a matter of minutes.
3-D printing works by forming layers. It's slow and there can be issues with the quality of the finished item. According to the article, Rapid Liquid Printing (RLP) works by using a large tank of gel. A two-part liquid substance is extruded into the gel and the gel suspends the substance so it doesn't have to fight gravity or require a base plate to build on. The substance chemically cures as it's extruded and has better structural integrity than a normal 3-D printed object, which which is necessary for the item to bear weight. Take a look at this short video:
The last piece you saw being made in the video was a custom tabletop that was featured at the Milan design show this spring. Here's the finished piece:
They're predicting that eventually they'll be able to produce desks and other office furniture with RLP. Sounds pretty cool, but don't put your office renovation on hold waiting for it - it's still in the research and development process and may be years down the road. For now, you'll have to stick with traditional office furniture. Give us a call for your next purchase - we'll be delighted to help you out!
If they can perfect this, it will revolutionize the office furniture industry, as well as other large-scale manufacturing industries.
I wonder if they can do Chippendale style?
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