Made to Measure: 3D Printing in Furniture Design

3D printing of furniture has been going on for some years since the benefits of the technology were discovered by designers looking for inspiration in terms of materials and shapes. The potential of 3D printing for furniture can be seen in many current projects globally, be it for the production of entire furniture pieces or individual components.

Iconic furniture design company, Herman Miller, has embraced 3D printing technology from Stratasys to slash prototyping time.
Iconic furniture design company, Herman Miller, has embraced 3D printing technology from Stratasys to slash production time from prototyping to final end product.

It’s hard to see why not especially when the advantages of 3D printing are plain to see:

  • Limitless scope for your creative designs
  • Flexible material choices
  • Hardly any material wastage
  • Customize with a wide array of options

With technological advancements and the inevitable shift towards having more personalized home interiors, 3D printing is increasingly being used to produce furniture that is unique and tailored-made.

Designers can really let their imagination fly thanks to the complex geometries afforded by the technology, instead of having to work around the limitations of traditional manufacturing.

B+ Stool – this visually stunning stool was designed by Hong Kong-based designer Edmond Wong and produced in collaboration with Stratasys, comprising of both 3D printed components and salvaged bamboo.

The furniture business has traditionally required significant investment in design and time to reach a final product because of having to rely on third-party vendors. But with 3D printing, designers can iterate their creations more thoroughly with lightweight furniture prototypes that can be created quickly and inexpensively.

One candidate to consider for functional prototyping is the Fortus 450mc from Stratasys using Nylon and ABS materials, which can create highly dimensionally accurate components with excellent surface finish and mechanical properties.

For visually appealing concept designs or for low-volume production, one could turn to the PANTONE validated Stratasys J750 PolyJet 3D printer, which can do over 500,000 color combinations to unleash endless creativity.

Durotaxis Chair - fully 3D printed rocking chair prototype that was inspired by the complexities of bones (designed by: Alvin Huang of Synthesis Design + Architecture)
Durotaxis Chair – fully 3D printed rocking chair prototype that was inspired by the complexities of bones (designer: Alvin Huang of Synthesis Design + Architecture), and printed from an Objet500 Connex3.

While 3D printing will not replace traditional manufacturing entirely, the lower production costs and endless design possibilities associated with it can push the boundaries of innovation further.