Coinciding with the arrival of Spring, the Bloom lamp – designed by Patrick Jouin – adopts the form of a flower to control light.
Made using MGX printing technology, the shade of the lamp is built as a single piece, and collapses or expands in one movement to release or enclose light.
The technology — Dec 2008 Materialise
MaterialiseGroup — The technology
Starting from a 3D image, a part is built slice by slice from bottom to top, in a vessel of liquid polymer that hardens when struck by a laser beam.
Schematic overview of the stereolithography process
Starting from your STL file, the required supports for overhangs and cavities are automatically generated in the model under construction. The support and model files are then “cut” into thin horizontal slices and programmed into the stereolithography machine.
This machine then uses a computer controlled laser to draw the bottom cross section onto the surface of a liquid polymer that hardens where struck by the laser. The part is then lowered to a depth corresponding to the section’s thickness and the next cross section is then drawn directly on top of the previous one. This is repeated until the part is finished.
The name .MGX comes from the file extension of the software Magics, created by Materialise (the parent company of .MGX and world leader in rapid prototyping techniques). This software makes rapid prototyping and 3D manufacturing techniques accessible to design professionals, enabling them to bring to life creations that would otherwise be impossible to produce.
The process begins when a CAD design file is converted into an STL-file and then transformed via Magics into an .MGX file that renders a design printable. With the Magics production software developed by Materialise and thanks to 3D printing technologies, (primarily stereolithography and selective laser sintering), 3D visual images are then literally “printed” as sustainable 3D material objects.
More specifically, in the case of stereolithography, the process takes place in a large tank, and begins when a layer of liquid polymer is spread over a platform. A laser beam is then directed into the liquid, (guided by the design file and the .MGX software), solidifying the areas it comes in contact with. Once the laser is finished, the platform with the solid areas resting on it, shifts down, and the process begins again: liquid is spread; a laser beam hardens specific points in the liquid; and the platform and completed layers of the object move down. In this way, layer by layer, an object is “drawn” in the liquid by the beam, with the layers being consolidated throughout the process. When the object is complete, it is raised out of the tank via the supporting platform – much like a submarine rising to the surface of the water – with the excess liquid flowing away.
In the case of selective laser sintering, the process is similar but with a few differences, the primary one being that powder is used in place of the liquid polymer. The end result however is the same: creations are brought to life that would otherwise be impossible to produce.