3D printing creates furniture of the future

A student has designed a unique way of 3D printing stools which could call time on traditional spring-based furniture.

A student has designed a unique way of 3D printing stools which could call time on traditional spring-based furniture.

Martyn Catchpole, 24, who's studying MA Product Design at Nottingham Trent University, is 3D printing nylon lattices as an environmentally friendly alternative to polyurethane foam and springs.

The lattices – which can be custom made to reflect varying levels of comfort - can withstand compression as similar to metal springs.

And when the product is ready to be disposed of, the lattices can be removed and melted down, to be re-used as 3D printing material again.

"Most polyurethane, spring-based furniture ends up being throw in landfill as it isn't economically viable to strip it", said Martyn, who's studying at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment. "So I was keen to design something that can be easily recycled so the materials aren't wasted.

"I wanted to rethink how furniture is made and use new technologies that weren't available before. For instance, a lattice of this type cannot be made from a mould. To make it correctly, it has to be 3D printed."

The design is set to go on public exhibition at the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment's Postgraduate Design Exhibition 2015 from 25 September to 2 October in the University's Newton building in Nottingham city centre. The exhibition – which is free admission - will include a range of designs by postgraduate product design students and interior architecture students.

Other designs on show include a commercial aquaponics system, a pen which helps people with dyslexia, a chair which helps combat stress and high quality flat-pack shelving unit.

Grant Baker, senior lecturer in product design at Nottingham Trent University, said: "Martyn has shown how new technologies like 3D printing can be used to improve existing products and make them more environmentally friendly.

"It's a good example of how our postgraduate students are rethinking traditional approaches to design and offering better alternatives which weren't available before."

3D printing creates furniture of the future

Published on 23 September 2015
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