3D printing technology produces futuristic lighting designs

Lamp created for Liquid exhibition
Lamp created for Liquid exhibition
Lamp created for Liquid exhibition
Lamp created for Liquid exhibition
Lamp created for Liquid exhibition
Lamp created for Liquid exhibition

Students from the University of Western Sydney have combined their creative skills with the use of 3D printing technology to design a range of striking residential and commercial lighting designs for a new exhibition at the UWS Penrith campus.

Featuring work from third year Bachelor of Industrial Design students, the exhibition has been named Liquid to reflect the manner in which the 3D printing technology works. The solid material is fed through the print head, heated until liquefied and then pushed through a nozzle to create intricate parts. Each 3D printed piece is then assembled to make larger light structures, with the students inspired by natural forms such as water droplets and mushrooms.

Ms Karen Yevenes, from the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, says the students used a variety of different techniques and processes to generate their organic light concepts. Hand drawn concepts and foam form-studies were significant stages in the design process. Ideas were refined and then translated into objects that were not only 3D printed, but also vacuum formed, resin cast and CNC milled.

“The 3D print lab the students are using at UWS is a real game changer, as shapes that were difficult, time-consuming and expensive to prototype by hand are now produced with ease,” she says.

“The availability of this technology at UWS inspires the students’ imagination. It allows them to resolve technical issues quickly, and their understanding of manufacturing is made a lot clearer as they can test how their innovations translate from abstract concepts to solid objects that serve a purpose.”

Ms Yevenes says despite the possibilities afforded by this technology, it was very important for students to also use traditional modelling skills.

“In order to create their final products, students still had to make use of traditional hand building and modelling techniques to attain an understanding of material properties, material finish, and to assemble their designs,” she says.

Ms Yevenes says the exhibition gave the students valuable experience in designing and creating products for the mass market.

“Students need to be challenged to build prototypes to refine their design solutions and calculate what is the most efficient and effective way to manufacture products for mass production, without compromising on their creativity,” she says.

“Through exhibitions like this, our Bachelor of Industrial Design students are learning the skills that will make them highly attractive to employers when they graduate.”


5 May 2014

Contact: Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer