by Carolyn Schwaar thanks to all3dpi
Images and project by piegatto.com

Delta WASP: 3D Printed Furniture With Beauty & Form

Delta WASP 3D Printing Case Study: How a Guatemalan architect creates stunningly intricate furniture designs achievable only with a large format 3D printer.

arredamento stampato in 3d- Piegatto Truss chair
TRUSSCHAIR – 3D printed chaise longue

A sculpture machine – this is how an artist sees a 3D printer. To furniture designer, architect, and artist Alejandro Estrada, his 3D printer is a tool on par with a hammer and chisel. He didn’t choose this method because it was faster, cheaper, or easier. He creates with a 3D printer because it expands what’s possible in design and challenges his imagination.

“When you know how to draw a line it’s completely unimportant if it’s with a stick, with your hand, with a pencil, or with a computer,” he says. “And when you know how to draw a line and you find much more accurate ways of doing so, then you take this new way of doing to create a work of art.”

Estrada’s art includes contemporary furniture design through additive manufacturing, specifically with the technology of Italian printer manufacturer WASP.

CASE STUDY AT A GLANCE

Type of Print: Final Piece – 3D printed chaise longue
Options: Injection Molding vs FDM
Industry: Furniture
3D Print Volume: 1 per week on average
Print Material: Various PLA, wood composite pellets
Printer selected: Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0
Printer investment: $40,000 with accessories
Time to ROI: Expected: 1.5 years

Piegatto - Truss Chair
The Piegatto Truss chair in natural amber biopolymer from NatureWorks. (Source: Piegatto)

Art Meets Technology in Unique and Beautiful Ways

Estrada’s 3D printed furniture isn’t just an expression of art, it’s an expression of additive manufacturing technology itself because he only produces pieces that can’t be made any other way. “If it looks like you can do it with your hands or it can be done with another machine, then I think it doesn’t make any sense to 3D print it,” he says.

Some designers might imagine a chair then look for a unique way to produce it. Instead, Estrada begins with the method – the 3D printer – and then, with an intimate understanding of its capabilities, imagines what type of chair only it could produce.

And with this approach the Truss line of outdoor furniture was born. Retailing in exclusive designer furniture galleries in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles, each piece of Estrada’s furniture created by his company, Piegatto, is a solid, intricate object of art that is as beautiful as it is comfortable. Printed from biodegradable and weatherproof PLA with openings that create transparency, the chair stretches in some parts and stays sturdy in others.

Not many 3D printers are capable of producing prints at this level of complexity and size, and finding the right printer took Estrada time and testing.

Choosing the Right Printer and Material

Dozens of printer manufacturers display their machines at the IDTechEx Show in California every year. Estrada spoke with several and narrowed the companies to one that appeared to have the quality and scale he needed to create unique outdoor furniture. He traveled to Germany, conducted printing tests, and was very close to buying a machine, he says. “But the big problem was that we could only buy the material through them and, for the material alone, one chair was around $700. For what we wanted to do, it didn’t make any sense.”

The material had to be less expensive. Spools of filament, which start at $20 per kilogram, were out of the question for making a full-size chair. Instead, Estrada looked at thermoplastic materials in pellet form, which can run as low as $2.50 per kilogram.

More commonly used in injection molding, pellets are not only less expensive but come in a wider range of materials than filament, including a long list of recycled and sustainable products. Plus, because a high volume of pellet material is fed via a hopper into the extruder, pellet-based 3D printers typically can print large objects quicker than filament-based printers.

Sustainability is an important aspect of Piegatto’s designs. Not only should the furniture be made of sustainable materials but the process should create little waste, which is a hallmark of additive manufacturing.

For Estrada, 3D printing is a way to add even more beauty to an object. “We realized that we needed to do wise objects without waste, as the beauty of an object not only resides in what you see as a final product, but what … you practice in achieving that beauty.”

An Innovative Artist Meets an Innovative Printer

Material, size, and quality needs led Estrada to Italian printer manufacturer WASP (World’s Advanced Savings Project).

Known for its mission to 3D print clay houses to solve the world’s housing issues, WASP has grown over the years to offer a wide range of industrial printers for construction, architecture and design, art and culture, energy, medical devices, and food.

stampante 3d industriale
Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0

Test prints on the Delta WASP 3MT INDUSTRIAL 4.0 printer convinced Estrada to make the investment. Although WASP offers a printing service, purchasing the printer at $40,000 with accessories, made more sense, he says, not only because his design company is located in Guatemala City, Guatemala, some 10,000 miles away from WASP, but because his creative process required multiple iterations and testing.

“Imagine all the trials and errors that we make,” says Estrada, “it would be impossible to do it with an outsource service.”

Piegatto’s two WASP printers (he also owns the Delta WASP 40100 Clay) run almost every day when there aren’t electricity blackouts, which are common in Guatemala. It takes six days to print one Truss chair and customer demand is high.

“We’re working on some modular benches for a shopping center, as well as some small pieces and vases,” says Estrada. “And the other thing is testing and more testing.”

Stay tuned to Piegatto for more innovative creations from Alejandro Estrada, a visionary pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing for design.