At one point, it sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie: push a button and “print” a sofa for your home in minutes. Thanks to new technology in the field of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, we’re not too far from that reality.
With 3D printing, manufacturers use advanced machines to “print” either entire pieces or parts for pieces. Usually, extremely hard plastic or silicone builds up the piece, but some makers are branching out to metals and even wood. 3D printing can be much faster, and much more affordable, than traditional furniture making methods. These machines work more quickly than people and can produce furniture around the clock. And the materials they use are readily available, cheap, and durable.
Additive manufacturing also allows manufacturers to produce pieces that would be extremely difficult or even impossible with traditional furniture-making methods: 3D printers can make full use of 3D space and aren’t hindered by the effects of gravity. Furniture makers are no longer bound by the limitations of furniture-making methods like inject-molding or routing. They are free to make incredibly complex pieces that are beautiful in their intricacy.
The latest designs from the world’s top brands are both functional and pleasing to the eye. And, combined with traditionally-manufactured or natural pieces, such as fabric, cushions, wood legs and platforms, and more, these 3D pieces are becoming a comfortable staple in homes and offices everywhere.
Most 3D printed pieces have an organic, natural look to them; some go as far as to appear “futuristic.” Manufacturers take advantage of these design features to minimize the amount of plastic used in the piece, which lessens the weight.
Many of these pieces, especially those with an emphasis on natural forms, would be right at home in a mid-century modern space. Those with eclectic tastes shouldn’t have any problem incorporating them, either.
For more traditional spaces, you will need to add additional pieces made from similar textures and colors, to further incorporate your 3D printed piece.
If your space has modern feel, try to choose pieces in the same color scheme as your home. Softer, ombre or pastel pieces will look jarring in a space that is clean and minimalist.
With further advances happening in 3D printing everyday, we might not be too far away from printing a sofa in our living room at the press of a button.