The Practical Side of the Research
Furthermore, a direction was taken towards a more practical and experimental side of the project. Currently, we are working on 3D models of expressive structures, which can then be printed out using the 3D printer available at the University of Edinburgh Architecture Building - Minto House. What's more, many CNC facilities are also available in the Edinburgh College of Art workshops.
We are also looking into the incorporation of FEA as a tool for upgrading the use of bone porous structures in Structural Engineering. The analysis is planned to start in January 2013, after a thorough preparation and research of what has been done already.
We also have two ideas for how to make home printers more efficient and sustainable. One of them is connected to incorporating a second nozzle in a 3DP machine, which will be coloring the object several layers underneath the printing nozzle. This should not be too difficult to achieve, given the open-source nature of commercial 3D printers. Another idea would be to incorporate shredders into the home-use 3D printers, in order to avoid waste of material - if you print out something, which you later find not useful you would just be able to shred it into pieces, melt it and feed it back as a printing material. This is hugely connected to the material properties, which we plan on discussing with Dr Jane Blackford from the University of Edinburgh, who has kindly responded to our questions already. A brief remark here - the development of such ideas is perhaps more suitable for a PhD dissertation, or a career path, hence we do not have high hopes of fully realizing them by April 2013.