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Cocoon Lamp: A One-of-a-Kind Success Story

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Cocoon: A Brilliant Example of how Generative Technologies Impact the Fixture Design Process

Created back in 2011, ‘Cocoon’ is a multi-purpose design lamp that was designed to demonstrate what can be realized using 3D printing. While looking for fresh 3D printed lighting inspiration, I frequently faced this unique Voxel Studio creature. It finally motivated me to dedicate this new blogpost to this intriguing project. Maybe because it’s just one of the few printed lighting concepts where the designers were quite open about their approach and the process they went through, and explained how they moved on from there towards prototyping.

Cocoon - a multi-purpose design lamp designed to demonstrate possibilities with 3D printing
Cocoon – a multi-purpose design lamp designed to demonstrate the renewed possibilities with 3D printing

Since 2011 the German designer Patrick Günther has been working in the design cooperation ‘Voxel Studio’. Voxel was a collective of designers who got their inspiration from natural shapes. They continuously motivated each other to challenge the boundaries of what’s possible in today’s design, especially related to the use of 3D printing technologies. Most of their work evolved from hand-made sketches, modelled in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program and finally fabricated using additive manufacturing technology.

Digital Design and Production of a Design Lighting Fixture

While searching for innovative production technologies able to address his specific needs, Günther crossed the topic of “fast prototyping”, particularly by means of 3D printing. It finally became the foundation for his subject “generative techniques and their impact on design processes.”

Generative techniques impact design processes.
Generative techniques impact the design processes.

The main goal of the trial was to design and manufacture an end product in a complete digital way. In the end, the “Cocoon” lamp was the impressive outcome of his study. By the use of 3D modeling programs the product was designed, the light distribution calculated and ray-traced and the records engineered.

Inspired by Natural Shapes

The Cocoon idea itself derives from the parallelism between Objet PolyJetting technology at the one hand, an excellent technique for the production of particularly complex shapes, and the behavior of insects in its natural habitat at the other hand.

The geometry of the lamp consists of multiple elements that are winded around the light source.
The geometry of the lamp consists of multiple elements that are winded around the light source.

The Cocoon as a modern design piece perfectly illustrates how art, an outer structure with clean design, and an organic form that highlights and the metamorphosis of insects fluently merge together in the final design.

“3D Printing Technology Brings
Light Design to Life”

The functionality and application of the Cocoon lamp is multi-purpose: it can be turned, laid down or be used as a pendant in different positions. The visual aspect can be set by the user to his specific preferences: the optical appearance or the desired light effect can be tuned manually.

Starting from Scratch

The project was realized in Cinema 4D software. Looking to the different materials to be used in the printing process, the reference object had to be very precisely constructed: Meshes should to be watertight and free of overlapping surfaces. The CAD model was finally exported in six separate meshes: each with the same null point.

Considering the capabilities of the 3D printer is very important in product design.
Considering the capabilities of the 3D printer is very important in product design.

With the comprehensive modeling tools in Cinema 4D, it is possible to create this object to the exact specs as required by the 3D printer. Taking into consideration the capabilities of the 3D printer is very important in product design to make sure the part can finally be turned into a printed solution, without losses in surface quality and shape or costly post-processing commitments.

Challenged by Print File Sizes

Once the design process was completed, the CAD model had a size of 2.30 GB. The Cocoon designers were faced with the fact that the printer could only work with a file size of up to a maximum of 250 MB. The challenge was therefore to optimize the model and reduce its geometry to reduce file size and make the Cocoon Lamp printable.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Cocoon Lamp_3
Restrictions to CAD file sizes might be challenging for designers.

Today, restrictions to CAD file sizes might still be challenging for designers, but, at the same time, it forces them to think in a different way when designing their products. This differing ‘mindset’ will certainly lead to new designs and solutions as never seen before!

Cocoon Lamp: A Proven Success Story

Creating the Cocoon seems to be quite a complex project. However, the Cocoon Lamp is not only an unorthodox project or a proof of evidence, it’s also a proven success story: Not only the design was finally awarded by the ‘Visualization Prize’ of the German ‘Detmold University for Architecture & Interior Design’, this extraordinary design lamp also caught the attention of several world leading design magazines and inspired and motived many other designers to discover the renewed possibilities with 3D printing.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Cocoon Lamp_2
The Cocoon: a proven success story and source of inspiration for many designers and product developers.

We’re thrilled to see more and more 3D printed lighting solutions coming, and can’t wait to see what’s next!

Pictures, concept and ideation are property of the Voxel Studio: www.voxel-studio.de

Luxexcel Unveils Inspirational Showcases eBook

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Inspirational Showcases eBook to Empower 3D Printed Optics Application

To help users define applications for its Printoptical Technology, Dutch Luxexcel recently released its Innovative Application Student Award Competition for Industrial Engineering Students of the Delft University of Technology. Today, an Inspirational Showcases Ebook was released capturing all the different projects.

We highlighted ‘Stuttgart’ and ‘Daylight Underground’ projects in the recent post ‘Luxexcel Group to Issue Innovative Application Student Award 2015‘ as interesting projects for lighting professionals. We might have missed however one project that would be very interesting to our key readers as well: ‘Raybender’ by TU Delft Student R. Baldewsing.

Raybender Art Lighting System

Art-pieces are often illuminate by spotlights. These spotlights create an egg-shaped light pattern on the art object and it’s surroundings. It results in a lack of uniformity in light intensity and that the art piece is illuminated suboptimal.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Raybender_TU Delft
‘Raybender’ Art Illumination System by TU Delft Student R. Baldewsing

The Raybender lighting system was designed to enhance the flexibility in designing a tailored illumination pattern for any art lighting solution. It makes use of a customized optic to control the light.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Raybender_Lens_System_TU Delft

The lighting system has a modular design and replacing a part is quite easy. By scanning the art object calculations can be made to tailor the shape of the light. The whole lighting system is designed to easily replace old spotlights.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Raybender_Infogaphic_TU Delft3D Printing Lighting Inspiration

You will find ‘Raybender’ and other impressive 3D printing references picked up in the ‘Inspiration‘ page of this website.

€7.5 Million B-Round Venture Funding for 3D Printed Optics Leader

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Market Leader 3D Printed Optics Enters Next Phase of Technology Development and Application

Luxexcel, the first company that is able to 3D print functional lenses, announced a €7.5 million series B-Round Venture Funding. The first closure is done and the second closure will be finalized in the next 90 days. The B-round was led by the Flemish investment company PMV, which included the firm’s existing investors, SET Ventures and Munich Venture Partners.

Luxexcel is pleased to announce the completion of this B-round funding. The technology and worldwide unique 3D printing service will offer new capabilities and novel optical solutions to many different markets. With these investments, Luxexcel will be able to accelerate the growth of its 3D printing technology platform and develop extensive additional printing capabilities.

B-Venture Funding for optical 3D Printing Technology Development
B-Venture Funding for optical 3D Printing Technology Development

Enhanced 3D Printing Capabilities

Roald Borré, PMV’s co-Head of Venture Capital, stated “We’re excited to have the opportunity to invest in Luxexcel. We join Set Ventures and Munich Venture Partners in supporting this company with its innovative and unique 3D Printing capabilities. We’re convinced that the company will change the way optics are designed, produced, and digitally stored across many different market segments. Our team is looking forward to help Luxexcel to accelerate the digitization of optics manufacturing”.

Richard van de Vrie, President and founder of Luxexcel is excited about PMV joining Luxexcel. “This strong investor was already successful in developing companies the 3D printing space. It is a great asset to have them on board. I am sure that with these investments Luxexcel will enhance its global leadership position in the Additive Manufacturing of lenses and optical components”.

Lux Opticlear: The next Generation 3D Printed Lenses has Arrived.
Lux Opticlear: The next Generation 3D Printed Lenses has Arrived.

Digitally Printed Optics Online Available

Since the launch of the Printoptical Technology in 2010, Luxexcel has raised a total of € 17.5 million in funding. The company has grown to a team of 25 employees and recently started to build an online ordering platform to provide worldwide accessibility of its service, providing optical designers with a rapid path to lens design, prototyping, testing, refinement and manufacturing of custom optical components in a matter of days.

Luxexcel Group to Issue Innovative Application Student Award 2015

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TU Delft Students Develop Unique 3D Printing Concept Incorporating Printed Optics Technology

Recently, Dutch Luxexcel challenged the Industrial Design Bachelor Students of the Delft Technical University, The Netherlands, to create a unique design concept incorporating it’s inventive Printoptical Technology. As a result, a variety of showcases was created by Industrial Design students of Delft University of Technology. 

Among them are two concepts that incorporate applied optical concepts for day – and artificial lighting purposes: ‘STUTTGART’ by Melle Grossl and ‘Daylight in the Underground’ by Martin Kooper.

‘STUTTGART’ concept by Melle Grossl

STUTTGART makes it possible to design custom lighting solutions rather than taking just a standard lamp providing interior spaces with light. Alternative solutions may provide a selection of choices only, STUTTGART provides the lighting designer with enhanced freedom in design.

TU Delft - Stuttgart - Pendant Fixture - Exploded View
TU Delft – Stuttgart – Pendant Fixture – Exploded View

The concept offers architects and interior designers an innovative lighting arrangement to make unused interior spaces useful again.

TU Delft - Stuttgart - Visual Application in a Pool Environment
TU Delft – Stuttgart – Visual Application in a Pool Environment

STUTTGART parts are printable within Luxexcel’s current framework of capabilities, it is not aimed at future 3d printing developments. The ‘Stuttgart concept’ is ready for market launch!

‘Daylight Underground’ by Martin Kooper

This flat solar collector, as designed for Luxexcel technology, can be used for concentrated solar power (CSP), but also for daylight systems. In the latter case light is guided into a glass fibre, from where it can be transported to spaces where daylight is more scarce. The light can be used for architectural installations, or to augment or replace traditional lighting.

3DPrinting.Lighting_TU Delft_Daylight Underground_Light Guides_Prototype
TU Delft – Daylight Underground – Light Guides – Prototype

For this project, application in a subway station was explored, where the light let travellers experience the feeling of the natural light of the sky outside. The designed collecting system is 10 m2 in size and can replace up to 50% of traditional lighting in peak hours.

3DPrinting.Lighting_TU Delft_Daylight in the Underground_Delft Central Station
TU Delft Student Application Award – Daylight in the Underground – Delft Central Station, The Netherlands.

The system can be easily integrated in the landscape if modules can be mounted in all angles and places. Each module comes with an individually customized set of lenses to deal with its different solar incidence. By varying the optical properties of the lenses in the system, different effects can be created.

TU Delft_Application Award - Daylight in the Underground - Rotterdam Blaak Station, The Netherlands.
TU Delft_Application Award – Daylight in the Underground – Rotterdam Blaak Station, The Netherlands.

Different system performance can also be created. One location might have a lot of cloudy days, so the acceptance angle should be larger to capture the more diffuse light. A location with only sunny days could be tailored for maximum efficiency. All implementations require consideration of the earlier mentioned key characteristics.

TU Delft Student Application Award - Daylight in the Underground - Product Render
TU Delft Student Application Awards – Daylight Underground – Product Render

Mass Customization for the CPV Market

Fully 3D printed collectors are possible in the near future. Good integration into existing structures will require a unique design per implementation, therefore, mass production will be inefficient. The design could create an entire new field of cost effective daylight, energy savings and creates a possible entry point into the (lucrative) CPV market.

Innovative Application Student Award 2015

Voting for the Innovative Student Application Award 2015 is open and the final winner will be announced soon.

Pictures are courtesy of Luxexcel.

3D Opportunity: Online Training Course on AM for Business Leaders

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Opportunity for End-use Products by Deloitte University Press

Additive manufacturing (AM), better known as 3D printing, represents an invaluable avenue of exploration and investment for companies end-use products in response to market demands. The emergence of additive manufacturing technologies can lead to exciting opportunities… or obsolescence. Companies can explore four tactical paths as they as they consider evolving their deploy these technologies across their businesses.

Evolving Products to Market Demand

AM technology represents a potentially valuable avenue of exploration and investment for companies as they consider to evolve their products in response to market demands. As the 3d printing technologies continues to improve, its ability to enhance product per formance is expected to continue to increase as well.

Changing Capital vs. Scale Relationship

As this performance increases, AM use is likely to continue to migrate from being an advanced technology used only by innovators to a more commonly used technology for core production activities.

“AM reduces the capital required to achieve economies of scale.
IT increases flexibility and reduces the capital required to achieve scope”

AM reduces the capital required to achieve economies of scale. At the same time, it increases flexibility and reduces the capital required to achieve scope. Changing the capital versus scale relationship impacts companies by presenting choices on how to deploy AM across their businesses.

Deloitte University Press: 3D Opportunity for End-use Products

Recently, 3D Systems released a new Deloitte University Press whitepaper for download, as part of a series on additive manufacturing, to help determine how to incorporate 3D printing into a companies manufacturing proces.

When doing so, it has the potential to enhance the end-use products in the following ways:

 Leveraging increased geometric complexity;
Create objects that cannot be manufactured using conventional manufacturing techniques such as casting, forging and subtractive machining. Innovative 3D printing materials provide high strength, yet are lightweight;

Decreasing system complexity;
Reduce the number of parts and sub-assemblies by redesigning more effective parts into a single component system;

•  Increasing customization;
Create individually customized products without incurring additional set-up costs, molding/tooling and post-processing costs typically associated with mass customization;

  Enhancing product performance;
Design for performance rather than manufacturability, as required by more traditional manufacturing techniques.

The opportunity for companies to apply additive manufacturing in the pursuit of value through improved performance, greater innovation, and accelerated growth will remain for the foreseeable future.

Learn from the movie below how companies can explore four tactical paths as they deploy 3D printing technologies across their businesses.

Online Training Course – AM for Business Leaders

The Deloitte University also launched an online course designed to help expand the knowledge of the business implications of additive manufacturing and to inform about the choices how and where to invest in these 3d printing technologies.

You can read more about and register for the course at Deloitte University Press.

Laser World of Photonics 2015: 3D Printing Driving Innovation

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3D Printing is the Future

LASER World of PHOTONICS 2015, being held from June 22–25, shed light on the industry. The enormous energy inherent in the topic was tangible at the leading trade fair in Munich: there were around nine per cent more exhibitors (1,227) and more than ten per cent more visitors (more than 30,000) in attendance and a new hall was opened. Concrete applications attracted keen interest with 3D printing applications on the rise!

AM for Production Miracles and More…

Additive manufacturing is used in lightweight construction, dental technology, lighting and medicine: that was demonstrated by various exhibitors as well as by the special show “3DPrinting – Additive Manufacturing”. The two meter high and six meter wide letters “LIGHT” created by Fraunhofer ILT using generative manufacturing symbolized the importance of generative manufacturing processes for lightweight construction. The company Materialise created a stir with a prototype heart from a 3D printer.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Custom Printed Optics by Luxexcel for Edmund Optics
Luxexcel 3D Printed Optics as shown by Edmund Optics

In the physical world of optics and photonics – as used in imaging and lighting applications – Edmund Optics showed their custom printed optics lens portfolio created with amazingly progressing Luxexcel Printoptical Technology.

3D Printing affects all Fields of Endeavor

Internet, Smartphone, car, road traffic, aviation, food and beverages, medical operation, disease diagnosis: 3D printing and Photonics are intelligent, is part of our everyday lives and is transforming our world: Both 3D printing and Photonics are fascinating and have truly become game-changing technologies in industry and society.

International Year of Light 2015

The International Year of Light 2015 was a golden thread running not just through the trade fair but also through the World of Photonics Congress in the International Congress Center Munich (ICM).

3DPrinting.Lighting_Laser World of Photonics Conferences incl. IYL2015
Laser World of Photonics Conferences with special attention for the International Year of Light 2015

Photonics Industry has Momentum

According to a recent study by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and trade associations SPECTARIS, VDMA and ZVEI the global turnover of the Photonics industry in 2014 was around 350 billion euros. It is due to hit 615 billion euros by 2020.

Finally, the outlook is good for the next LASER World of PHOTONICS, to be held from June 26–29, 2017.

Industry Executives Bring AM and 3D Printing Intelligence to TCT 2015

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The TCT 2015 Show + Personalize Conference team has announced the Executive Keynote programme for the 20th edition of the industry-leading 3D technologies event.

The TCT 2015 Executive Keynotes

A variety of leading 3D companies will delegate their executives to join the TCT 2015 keynote program. Among them are Al Siblani, CEO of EnvisionTEC, Scott Schiller, the Worldwide Director 3D Printing at Hewlett-Packard, Max Lobovsky, CEO of Formlabs, Conor MacCormack, CEO of Mcor Technologies, Todd Grimm, President at T. A. Grimm Associates and Andy Middleton, President for the EMEA region at Stratasys.

Fresh Perspectives to the Conference Stages

TCT strive to bring fresh perspectives to the TCT conference stages year-on-year — something that’s made easier by the wealth of talented speakers available and the speed that this fascinating industry is developing. The selected executive keynotes have decades of experience with 3D printing technologies between them but are all poised to have their biggest impacts in the years to come. Long-standing companies like EnvisionTEC, Stratasys and Mcor will share the stage with relative newcomers Formlabs and debutants HP — with Todd Grimm providing the energetic education that he has become famed for.

TCT 2015: Technologies that Matter

The strength of this year’s conference programme perfectly complements the exhibition, which is demonstrably the most comprehensive show floor dedicated to 3D technologies anywhere in the world. From desktop to workshop to production floor, TCT Show 2015 + Personalize is the only place to see all of the technologies that matter.

Benchmark on Clear 3D Print Materials

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Benchmark Transparent and Optical 3D Printing Resins

Following the earlier launch of a clear 3D print materials comparison, Dutch Luximprint, the global service provider in 3D printing of optics and optically clear components, launched a next in-depth benchmark on transparent 3D printing materials to help designers and engineers understand the possibilities with clear plastics for various applications.

3D Printing of Optical Quality Parts

Meanwhile, there is a variety of 3D printing technologies available on the market that can print transparent parts. However, using them to create parts with optical functionality, such as lenses and light guides, seems to be a very limited option.

Clear 3D print materials comparison by Luxexcel including a variet of available 3D printing technologies.
Clear 3D print materials comparison including a variety of available 3D printing technologies.

Clear 3D Print Materials Benchmark

Back in 2015, a research conducted on 3D printed clear parts using different 3D printing technologies was published. Most of these technologies can be used to create transparent parts, it is clear however that functional optical parts as used in illumination and increasingly imaging applications, can only be realized today by Additive Optics Manufacturing technology. Using this ‘droplets-on-demand’ build process, smooth surfaces can be achieved straight from the printer with no need for post-processing, such as polishing or grinding.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Luxexcel clear 3D print materials benchmark_5_Total Light TransmissionMaterial Properties and Functions

For all the parts, the optical properties of the materials samples were measured, as well as the total and diffusive light transmission. When creating parts with optical functionality, a maximum efficiency and minimum haze values are important.

3DPrinting.Lighting_Luxexcel clear 3D print materials benchmark_5_Diffusive Light TransmissionMaterial Yellowing by UV-curing

The yellowness index of the different clear 3D print materials, as caused by the UV-curing the materials during the printing process to bring it from a liquid into a solid state is another interesting topic to have a look at. Generally, plastic materials age faster when exposed to an extraordinary amount of UV-light. Influences on the optical behavior are limited, it may, however, influence the color temperature of the emitted light rays.

Comparison of the total and diffusive light transmission for each of the evaluated materials.Whitepaper ‘Clear 3D Print Materials’

A whitepaper containing the full benchmark, backgrounds and further explanations is available on request, please contact the companies’ sales engineers to learn about the availability.

Pictures in this post are courtesy of Luxexcel / Luximprint.

Microsoft Unleash 3MF File Format for 3D Printing

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As founding member of the 3MF Consortium, netfabb supports the standard both, for importing and exporting the 3MF file format,

With the fast adoption of 3D printing as a new way of manufacturing across a variety of industries, the need for a uniform file format that can accurately and completely transfer data from a CAD system to a 3D printer became instantly obvious.

The launch of the .3MF file by Microsoft recently is a great next step and important news for the entire 3D design world. It will have large implications in driving the 3D printing industry forward when it comes to the adaption of future technologies and the capabilities arising from it. The large diversity of previous 3D formats have not been able to accomplish such an uniformity.

“.3MF allow companies and designers to concentrate on innovation rather than interoperability issues”

3MF File Format: Overcoming actual Issues and Resolving Interoperability

Modern 3D printers are capable of printing parts that can hardly be described using the existing file formats. The 3MF specification eliminates these problems with currently available formats, such as .STL (too many or too few features), .IGES and STEP (high entrance barriers) and .OBJ (poor manufacturing quality). Finally, the specification overcomes functionality issues and resolves interoperability, enabling companies to focus on innovation in this growing field.

3MF Consortium – A Joint Development Foundation Project

The refreshed .3MF file format – existing for years meanwhile – is supported by various leaders in 3D printing software and hardware, who recently came together in the 3MF Consortium. This new consortium is a joint development foundation project and will initially be made up of seven companies: Microsoft Corporation, Shapeways, Hewlett Packard, Autodesk, netfabb, SLM Solutions and Dassault Systems. The consortium will continue the work to define the 3MF file format and allow 3D models to be sent to other applications, services, platforms, and printers.

“Today Hardware is Ahead of Software: Complexity is Free, Computation not”

Presenting The Future of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing by Microsoft

For a lot of questions about the new 3MF format, and the grand strategy behind all this, watch the fantastic explanatory talk of Steve and Emmett at the recent Microsoft Build Conference. These 47 minutes capture will show you a lot about the future of 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

A Difference in Making – Making a Difference Exhibition by .MGX Materialise

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3D Printing Exhibition Produced by Materialise Is Opening This Month in Brussels

Mark your calendar so you don’t miss our exhibition that is opening this month: ‘Making a Difference – A Difference in Making’ curated by Marta Malé-Alemany, from April 24th to June 7th, 2015 in BOZAR Center for Fine Arts.

A Difference in Making

.MGX will be prominently featured in one section of the exhibition titled “A Difference in Making” where visitors will be able to appreciate a series of inspiring design creations from the early days of 3D Printing to the most fascinating contemporary examples. The featured works have all been conceived as design experiments that explore the formal and material opportunities enabled by the invention and development of 3D printing technology.

Making a Difference - a Difference in Making - .MGX_Bloom Handcrafted finishing
Making a Difference – a Difference in Making – .MGX_Bloom Handcrafted finishing

3D Printing: Making of Complex Forms

Together they illustrate a striking array of the technical and creative potentials of 3D Printing including: the making of complex forms, which are inspired by nature or generated with digital data and advanced software tools; the creation of 3D-printed materials, which exhibit physical properties that cannot be found in traditional materials; the use of 3D-printed scaffolds, which act as support of natural processes of petrification or growth to create physical objects in cooperation with nature; and others.

Thanks to these groundbreaking projects, the technology made a difference. Come and see how 3D Printing was able to make a difference in the life of the individual, the environment and our society!