Dirk van der Kooij prints chairs using a CNC extruder arm with a hopper for large ground up plastic from refrigerators. The extrusion appears to be about finger thick, which enables low resolution and high speed printing. I suspect its print volume is probably on par with the 35.5 cubic feet promised by Le BigRep.
One plastic string, made out of old refrigerators, crafted by a robot, into a chair.
When the first plastic chairs were made, they began with fairly simple tools and moulds to form the plastic. The simple tools were easy to adjust and this gave the designer the chance to evaluate the final product and adjust the tools almost endlessly.
As labour grew more and more expensive, it was filtered out of the process with automated and complicated tools.
These automated processes have been very inflexible until now. High investments in complicated moulds made it almost impossible for a designer to evaluate and refine his final object.
The designer is no longer involved in the production process and the design stage is completely shifted to a pre production phase.
As Dirk van der Kooij considered this a lost chance he made a pact with the devil, because he found a solution, not in labour but in computerization.
By combining different techniques, he was able to design an automated but very flexible process. He taught a robot his new craft, drawing furniture out of one endlessly long plastic string.
This opened the possibility for Dirk van der Kooij to design in the good old-fashioned way, making a chair, evaluating, refining, making a chair, evaluating, refining and making a chair. Or developing an infinitely large collection of variations. Endless.
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