3D Printing

RCA Students Yield Form 1+ 3D Printer as Benchtop Factories for Industrial Design

Sewing machines, typewriters, computers (to name just a few) were revolutionary technologies, in their own time, that transformed creative landscapes and enabled individuals with the freedom to produce. Interestingly, each one fit on the top of anybody’s desk.

These desktop technologies opened up the possibilities for never before seen applications and redefined business processes. The worldwide adoption of these technologies over the decades is a testament to their effectiveness and role in empowering people to bring ideas into being. Today, another such innovative desktop technology, 3D printing, – in this case, the Form1+ 3D printer – is on the verge of stepping onto desks the world over.

As we had mentioned in November, ‘Benchtop Factory’, a collaboration between Formlabs and the Royal College of Art (RCA) London, asked industrial design students to realistically explore (over a semester) what people would make if they could create anything, right in their homes, using one of the most advanced personal manufacturing units available. If the Form1+ 3D printer was on your desk, what would you do with it?

benchtop factory formlab 3D printers rca

Well, on 28th March, 2015, you have a chance to find out what the students at RCA did with it. The results of their semester-long work will be on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and will give us a glimpse of the potential 3D printing has to change our lives.

formlabs and RCA benchtop factory 3D printingSpeaking about these results, Dr Sharon Baurley, Head of Programme, Design Products at the RCA, said, “What I was really impressed with was the spread of ideas. The brief was about challenging the students to envision future benchtop manufacturing scenarios, and thinking about socio-cultural, political, technological changes to manufacturing.”

From webcam-activated security keys to growing pots for growing plants, from pattern making models to custom light fittings, the innovations hint at what such ‘micro-factories’ might produce and what business models they might give rise to.

Max Lobovsky, co-founder of Formlabs, said: “We developed Formlabs for designers and engineers to create new ideas. And we’re all trying to understand how 3D printing will change how we make and manufacture. So it was really inspiring for us to have these design students prototyping exploring new horizons on the Form 1+.”

The works will be on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London starting March 28. To be inspired to create your own inventions, stop by the exhibit or, if you can’t make it, watch the video below.