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Making Data Matter – Voxel printing for digital fabrication of data

Developed by the team at the MIT Media Lab‘s Mediated Matter group, the following research demonstrates multimaterial voxel-printing method that enables physical visualisation of volumetric data.

Leveraging voxel-based control of multimaterial three-dimensional (3D) printing, their method enables additive manufacturing of discontinuous data types such as point cloud data, curve and graph data, image-based data, and volumetric data. By converting data sets into dithered material deposition descriptions, through modifications to rasterization processes, they demonstrate that data sets frequently visualized on screen can be converted into physical, materially heterogeneous objects.

Multimaterial 3D printing with photopolymeric materials enables the simultaneous use of several different materials, and by using dedicated cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white, and transparent resins, full-color models with variable transparency can be created. The ability to create objects with and inside transparent material enables the physical visualization of compact n-manifolds such as unconnected point cloud data, lines and curves, open surfaces, and volumetric data. These Multimaterial 3D printers operate by depositing droplets of several ultraviolet-curable resins in a layer-by-layer inkjet-like printing process to construct high-resolution 3D objects. High levels of spatial control in manufacturing can be achieved by generating a set of layers in a raster file format at the native resolution of the printer, where each pixel defines the material identity of a droplet and its placement in 3D space. The set of layers can be combined into a voxel matrix. A printer can then process these droplet deposition descriptions given as a voxel matrix to digitally fabricate heterogeneous and continuously varying material composites. This approach is often described as bitmap-based printing or voxel printing.

Models shown herein were printed on a Stratasys Objet500 Connex (two material), Stratasys Objet500 Connex3 (three material), and Stratasys J750 (six material) 3D printers. VeroClear (RGD810) was used as transparent material, while for colors, VeroWhitePlus (RGD835), VeroBlackPlus (RGD875), VeroYellow (RGD836), VeroCyan (RGD841), and VeroMagenta (RGD851) were used.

Read Full PaperMediated Matter at MIT Media Lab

Team: Christoph Bader1, Dominik Kolb, James C. Weaver, Sunanda Sharma, Ahmed Hosny, João Costa and Neri Oxman.

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