While studying Industrial Design at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) Julian Goulding explored consumer product applications of 3D printing techniques by developing an App to facilitate custom made earphones. The main driver behind this project was the growing concern about the financial and environmental costs behind mass production of consumer goods. In the case of earphones, not only is the frequent change in fashion a concern, but also mass produced one-size-fits-all products don’t really fit anyone in particular. Julian’s Accord earphones combine a range of technologies to provide a maximum of personal expression at a minimum of costs. A physical impression of the inner ear (taken by audiologist or made with a DIY kit) is scanned and the digital file held at Accord. The buyer of the App will design the look of them, Accord will create and send the digital printing file to the local printing service provider, who will in turn ship them to the buyer.
This was perceived as another exciting application of 3D printing and digital technologies and designboom published it to bring it to the attention of hundreds of thousands of design professionals and businesses.
These projects used a range of programs: CAD, 3DS Max, Maya, Mudbox and Solidworks to combine and modify the various scan data sets.
Accord: sample testing during development was done on the Up Minis in-house, the project final was done on the Connex 500 and afterwards a sample in gold was ordered and printed through Shapeways. The scanner was a modified Microsoft Kinect remote.
Synthetic Anatomy: the scanner was a Kinect SDK 1.7 remote modified with the developer package Fusion and 2.0 strength lenses, enabling to capture in more detail. The printer for this project was exclusively a Connex 500 Multimaterial, as the range and quality of the rubber, plastic and digital materials was of relevance to the research.
Following the successful exploration of 3D scanning and printing, Julian was invited by Bernard Guy to explore multi-media 3D printing and its applications for prosthesis making. This project – intended to expand shared knowledge in synthetic anatomy from previous projects – researched how to improve accuracy, tactile qualities and speed of production of synthetic prosthesis not only for the reconstructive medical market, but also the creative market of movie making. Together with Simon Crane they examined how multi-media printers can create a range of material characteristics to recreate the feel and functions of human body parts, in their case the ear.
Augmentation: medical application
The project was not only focused on recreating an ear, but creating an augmentation that was of individual value to the wearer and would enhance their confidence through every day use. Thus detailed scanning of an individual’s ear was required. The complex structure of the ear – cartilage, skin and flesh- required different kind of scans (MRI, X-ray and 3D exterior) to be woven together for the closest possible representation of its original. The transition from computer & digital data to physical & real objects was possible with the multi-material printer Connex 500. Through extensive sample printing they discovered the range of Shore hardness values the printer could print in and which ones were appropriate for this particular project. The intent and depth of their research earned them a notable mention at the prestigious 2014 core77 design awards.