3D Printers

Suspended Depositions: Hair Gel 3D Printing with an Undo Function

There’s something about 3D printing with metal and plastic that just feels so absolute, so finite, so… done. Nothing that reflects the true impermanence of existence. 3D printing with a big vat of hair gel, now that’s life!

deposition Suspended DepositionsUsing the combined powers of UV light and hair product, Brian Harms and his “multi-faceted design initiative”, NSTRMNT, have developed a method for 3D printing that leaves room for editing, erasing, and rebuilding. They call it Suspended Depositions. Here’s how it works: a robotic arm injects a UV-curable resin into a tub of hair gel. The gel acts as a support structure for the printed object and, because the hair gel is malleable, the print can be changed at any point, with parts erased or moved during the print process. Then, a UV lamp is placed over the vat, causing the resin to harden so that the print can be removed and wiped off. Watch the artsy video below:

Suspended Depositions from BrianHarms on Vimeo.

The project’s site indicates the possible advantages of such a method:

robot Suspended DepositionsOne major distinction between this project and other rapid prototyping processes is the ability to utilize 3D vector-based toolpaths. Virtually all other processes use paths generated via contouring a digital model, and rely on the hardening of each successive layer before being able to move on to the next.

The suspension of resin in space without added support material allows for the ability to navigate and fabricate directly on and around other existing objects within the Gel, as well as the ability to observe the process from any angle. The suspension of time in this process allows for tool changes, manual injections, on-the-fly robotic injections, multi-material injections, live modification of the digital or physical model, and the ability to physically “undo” (resin removal via suction or scooping).

The process is also meant to be affordable because the gel can be reused for future prints and is relatively inexpensive and available in stores.  And, aside from all of these wonderful features, the 3D-printed objects have great hold and a natural, healthy shine that will drive the boys wild.

objects Suspended Depositions