3D Printers

Take a Seat on the Robotically 3D Printed Percy Stool

While studying Industrial Design at the Melbourne, Australia-based RMIT University, soon-to-be-graduated student Ryan Pennings invested his time performing research projects that were aimed at combining algorithmic design with 3D printing technology. Pennings found a way to amalgamate the two processes for his final project in the RMIT design program, a series of 3D printed stools named the Percy Stools.


RMIT University’s Industrial Design program has a heavy focus on industrial, furniture, and product design, featuring a honors component for which Pennings undertook the Percy Stool project (with supervision from RMIT Architecture and Design Professor Scott Mayson). Using a robotic 3D printer, a Kuka KR150 robotic arm modified with a plastic granule extruder, the design student was able feed algorithmic rules into the Kuka, which was able to use its robotic arm to 3D print each one of these stools in a unique and personalized way by simply following the algorithmic design.


The stricter algorithmic rules were set in place to hold the stool’s topology in place, while the looser rules allowed the printer to create a more visually exciting support design within the stools foundation.



The Kuka robot is able to extrude plastic-based materials at 6kg/h, and can produce single parts up to 3m x 2m x1.5m, dancing through the algorithmic design seamlessly, creating a sturdy structure on the outside, and an eye-catching design within. Pennings’ Percy Stools have been 3D printed in various colors of PLA and weigh approximately 5-6kgs each, each stool has a unique inner design because of the relaxed rules set within the design pattern.

ryan pennings 3D printed stool

Using the Percy Stool project as a vehicle, Pennings was able to explore the role that algorithmic design processes can play in Industrial Design, particularly through the lens of furniture design and robotic fabrication through 3D printing. The project may indicate a strong showing for algorithmic design within industrial 3D printing, by setting algorithms for the design to follow, we may be able to ease the laborious tasks that generally come along with industrial 3D design and industrial 3D printing production. Pennings will be showcasing the Percy Stools at the RMIT Industrial Design Graduate Exhibition that starts on November 19th in the RMIT Design Hub.