Kinematics – System for 3D printing complex, foldable forms

Developed by Nervous System, Kinematics is a system for 3D printing that creates complex, foldable forms composed of articulated modules. The system provides a way to turn any three-dimensional shape into a flexible structure using 3D printing. The system combines computational geometry techniques with rigid body physics and customisation to take large (flexible) objects and compress them down for 3D printing through simulation.

The process begins with the form design of the desired object. The surface of the form is then tessellated with a pattern of triangles. The size of the triangles can be customised to produce different aesthetic effects as well as different qualities of movement in form (the smaller the triangle, the more flexible the structure / the more fabric like it behaves). Next the application generates the kinematics structure from the tessellation. Each triangle becomes a panel connected to its neighbours by hinges. The designer can apply different module styles to these panels to create further aesthetic effects.

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