BigRep Innovation Award Winner Announced

Winner bigrep innovation award

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Quebec City architecture student Sandrine Héroux, from the Université Laval, has been announced as the winner of the inaugural BigRep Innovation Award, including a $3,000 cash prize and her design printed on the BigRep ONE 3D printer.

The contest, organized by Berlin-based BigRep and Halifax-based NOVACAD Systems, was open to students across Canada to design a chair for 3D printing. Ms Héroux’s design for a 3D-printed stool, named “Sans Modération”, is an aesthetically original and FDM-inspired furniture design that the jury today announce as the winning entry.

Of the Innovation Award and her own church-vault-inspired design, second-year Masters student Ms Héroux said, “This contest was the perfect opportunity to push the boundaries of 3D printing and to think about this manufacturing process on a whole new scale, which is possible thanks to the BigRep ONE's printing volume. “Sans Modération” was born of my interest in digital design and fabrication, and new technologies.”

The design demonstrated a strong understanding of the potential of 3D printing, and of the BigRep ONE large-scale printer. It uses the dual extrusion capacity of the ONE to create a complex structure that has its own unique aesthetics. It starts from a simple geometric form from the top and turns into an abstract pattern when looking from the side.

bigrep innovation award winner
Side view of the Sans Modération

Competition jury member Amir Fattal, Head of Marketing & Creative Projects at BigRep, said of the decision, “We were blown away by the caliber of entries, which made the final decision all the more difficult. In the end, Sandrine’s design was a clear winner for us because of its fulfilment of all criteria, especially that it is a chair design only possible with FDM.”

Making up the four-person jury panel were: Artist and 3D printing expert, Lindsay Lawson; Architect and Professor at Dalhousie University, Brian Lilley; VP at NOVACAD Systems in Halifax, Gregor Ash; and BigRep’s Head of Marketing and Creative Projects, Amir Fattal.

From all entries, 12 finalists were selected to go to a public vote – the vote was to be a consideration for the jury in choosing a final winner, among other criteria.

Ms Héroux will travel to Halifax to accept her prize, learn more about the BigRep ONE 3D printer, and she will also receive a fully post-processed form of her winning stool design, “Sans Modération”. Ms Héroux is team leader of the 3D plastic print team at the school's Fablab, the digital fabrication committee, and says she plans to stand the finished chair in her school’s research group room.

Bionic Propeller: Nature inspiring innovation

Bionic propeller by BigRep

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Over millions of years, species of plants and animals have evolved to survive the elements, fly higher, run faster, grow taller, protect themselves when vulnerable. The lessons we learn from nature can often be applied in designing industrial objects.

A new e-book by BigRep explores how botanical and zoological research can provide a foundation for bionic design: drawing on elements within nature to optimize products and technologies with 3D printing. In the summer of 2017, BigRep decided to explore the potential of propeller production based on bionic principles, using its powerful 3D printer The ONE.

Inspired by a propeller innovation from the Technical University of Berlin (TU), BigRep Industrial Designer Florian Schärfer developed a Bionic Propeller model that combined two key bionic research principles to make a conventional design more efficient.

The propeller design has loop ends with no end part, based on the pinions of bird wings, which, when splayed out, enable birds to glide with ease and low-noise emission through the air. Furthermore, six ridges visible on the edge of each propeller blade are based on bumps along the fins of Humpback whales. When the propeller is rotating, air travels faster through these ridges, with less drag.

bionic propeller by BigRep

“Both of these bionic principles work in water and air,” said Schärfer. “So, it could be adapted to small ventilation fans to wind turbines to water or air propellers.”

The result is a propeller that reduces turbulence caused by air or in-water cavitation. Tests with a computer vent designed this way revealed 30% less noise emission, and tested as a ship propeller it raises the thrust performance by around 19%. Like the Berlin-based researchers who developed the loop principle propeller, more and more teams of researchers are discovering and applying bionic principles that make conventional designs more efficient.

3d printed bionic propeller by bigrep

The BigRep ONE revolutionizes the process of casting a propeller by shaving significant time off the production of an initial mold. “The bionic propeller model can be printed in days instead of being milled and shaped by hand over a period of weeks,” said Schärfer. “The process has traditionally been laborious, but with large-scale 3D printing, the prototype can be created as one single, seamless form.”

Shifting gear into 3D print mode: How Paravan cut production costs by 75% with the BigRep ONE

Paravan modified car

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Vehicle customization company Paravan is a leading international provider of vehicle adaptations for people with a disability or special needs. With their personalized, road-approved, safety-related industrial applications, Paravan doesn’t just deliver car parts from its industrial mobility park in Germany – they offer mobile freedom to those who need it most.

Their solutions are specifically tailored to individual medical needs, incorporating features such as wheelchair access, loading systems, rotating seating, and many more accessibility assets for safety and comfort. Providing such highly tailored automotive components requires a great deal of time consulting, designing, prototyping and installing, to ensure the components work as they should. This makes time and resource savings even more valuable.

BigRep is pleased to be a part of making those savings a reality. Now working with a BigRep ONE, Paravan can rely on large-volume 3D printing technology, instead of depending on older, time-intensive processes to deliver parts.

“With the BigRep ONE, we can quickly and inexpensively print complex components that are either impossible or very difficult to produce by machine,” said Mario Kütt, Head of Mechanical Construction at Paravan, when we spoke with him about how the BigRep ONE is shifting how they produce parts. “Now we print a component that we had previously milled, thereby saving around 75% of the costs.”

In addition to saving 75% on production costs, Paravan is also producing its prototypes almost 50% faster using 3D printing than with traditional methods. One such prototype the Paravan team has printed is a revolutionary new steering mechanism. Unlike in most cars, this Paravan steering wheel is electronic, rather than being directly connected to the steering column. The specialist automotive company designed their own cover for the steering wheel using the BigRep ONE 3D printer.

Custom grips, created from 3D scans, are another example of the kinds of custom parts that Paravan prints with the BigRep ONE large-scale 3D printer. “We have had the printer for a good year, and together with a 3D scanner, our construction engineers work with it daily,” said Alexander Nerz, Paravan’s Head of Marketing & PR. “It’s great to be able to quickly and efficiently build designs overnight... to be able to install the piece into the customer’s vehicle the very next day. It’s a really great tool.”

For more information on how Paravan is using 3D printing to change the way they produce their innovative industrial applications:

Fusing Creativity & Technology for Innovation

Some say working in the tech sector doesn’t leave much room for creativity. I beg to differ, and so do most others when they see what my team and I do every day at the intersection of creative and technology. Fusing together art, design and technological innovation has opened up a wealth of possibility for us here at BigRep, and for our customers and partners, in particular.

From an early stage, BigRep decided to have a creative team, and ensure it was a core function within the company. We reached out to designers, architects and artists, and sought interesting collaboration opportunities to demonstrate what large-scale fusion deposition modeling (FDM) could do.

Four years ago, when BigRep started out, not many creative professionals had ready access to 3D printing technology. The awareness level was so much lower than it is now. For us, it was about showing what it really means to use large-scale 3D printing. There’s a difference between doing something large and something that is really 1:1. We took on the exciting challenge of offering more value-added education on what FDM really is, and the potential of it.

In this post, I am keen to give more insights into how we approach our large-scale creative work at BigRep, and why I believe we’ve been pioneering a new-wave approach to creative large-scale 3D printing.

One of our early collaborations was with Munich-based industrial designer Thorsten Franck, on the London table. It is one table that can support a 20-kg plate of glass atop it, and one of the most interesting things about the design is that it can be printed in one loop, in just one day. I think it’s a great example of 3D-printed furniture because it uses the full one cubic meter of the BigRep ONE, it’s made for FDM and designed directly in the G-code, demonstrating big volume at high speed.

We also partnered with Juergen Mayer H. on a project that was about visualizing the code that banks use to disguise information, such as on the inside of envelopes. Given the cavities within the sculpture, 3D printing was the only technology to translate the digital model into a physical reality.

Juergen Mayer H. makes creativity & technology meet with his 3D printed Sculpture
Juergen Mayer H. with his 3D printed Sculpture

Another creative cooperation on perhaps the largest scale we’ve attempted yet, was with Andreas Greiner, in which the Berlin-based artist took a CT-scan of the skeleton of a broiler chicken and converted it into a skeleton the size of a dinosaur – at a scale of 20:1. Produced in partnership with the Technical University of Applied Sciences (TH Wildau), the seven-meter high sculpture was on display at the Berlinische Gallery, as part of Greiner’s suite of works representing society’s attitude to the meat industry and food production and consumption. It’s fascinating, as an artist myself, to see how our technology can bring a concept to life in a way that has such an impact on a space, and those who view it.

Andreas Greiner with 3D Printed Sculpture
Andreas Greiner with 3D Printed Sculpture

From early on, BigRep wanted to connect to the energy of the city here in Berlin and invest resources in projects that showed the potential of FDM, through film and dynamic content. We wanted to educate, inspire and show what the future could look like – thus the BigRep Innovation Award was born, and launched in October 2017. Starting in partnership with NOVACAD Systems, as a competition for Canadian students to design a chair for 3D printing, we want to help equip the next generation of designers, architects, engineers and artists to develop the skills and know-how to innovate with 3D printing.

I remember what it is like to submit works to open calls and competitions, so my advice for BigRep Innovation Award entrants would be: become familiar with the kinds of technologies available in the 3D printing sphere. Not everything is always ‘printable’, so learn how to design specifically with the technology in mind, and this will yield the best results.

Furthermore, try to be original, and to bring your passion and individuality to the design. Take the time to understand how the technology translates design into digital form and don’t worry about making mistakes. Our large-scale 3D printers are great trial and error tools. You can know in one day how something looks on a 1:1 scale. That changes everything – for design, for art, for creation.

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Amir Fattal is Head of Marketing & Creative Projects at BigRep in Berlin. He is also an independent artist and business developer for art and culture, who has curated and participated in numerous international exhibitions in galleries and museums.

Connect with Amir on Linkedin HERE and on Instagram HERE.

“I raced Amazon Prime, and won.” – The fast-print wonder that is the ‘Kinky Korb’

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There are few phenomena quite like the online shopping empire Amazon. The giant online shop offers same-day delivery in Germany and other countries, which many would agree cannot be beaten. Until its delivery time was unofficially beaten – by an in-house BigRep design and The ONE large-scale 3D printer.

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It all began with garbage – well, specifically a lack of desk-side recycling receptacles in the BigRep NOWlab office, that is. Mirek Claßen, industrial designer and architect at BigRep’s NOWlab, was on the hunt for more wastepaper bins in BigRep’s Berlin office, and when he saw a few more were needed, he did what many of us would do: he looked online to find some, and saw Amazon’s range available for same-day delivery. But simply ordering some for delivery wouldn’t have been as fun as Claßen’s next idea. “I thought, why not print one, but make it more beautiful, customizable and very print-friendly,” he said. “The idea for the Kinky Korb was born – a recycle bin that fulfils your office needs.”

Named for its quirky shape and the German word for ‘basket’, Claßen designed the Kinky Korb to be sturdy, aesthetically interesting and a fast-print object. “The recycle bin can be printed in vase mode and is tandem machine ready,” explained Claßen. “So, it has a print time of 2.5 hours per item and I bet that’s even better than Amazon’s same day delivery service!”

Waste paper on the way into a Kinky Korb paper bin
The Kinky Korb paper bin receives its first delivery...

The design works in every color – in fact, the louder the color, the better! BigRep’s PLA filament comes in a range of funky colors, and the Korb is strong and shiny in the Black PRO HT filament as well. Because it is fast to print, incredibly useful and uses a relatively small amount of filament, the Kinky Korb is the ideal project to test out the BigRep range of colors.

When Jörg Petri, NOWlab’s Head of Innovation, was asked to bring a little give away furniture piece printed on the BigRep ONE at the ‘Mobility Goes Additive’ event in Frankfurt in November 2017, it created more hype than would usually be reserved for a humble paper basket. Passers-by asked to buy one on the spot. This is how the Kinky Korb made its way to the headquarters of German rail service Deutsche Bahn. BigRep has been partnering with Deutsche Bahn on several research and development projects, including one to print headrests as end-use parts. The company put in an order for some colorful Kinky Korbs for their newly refitted office in Berlin.

So, for a quick side project, there are some lively, colorful results when there is a BigRep printer around. Needless to say, all BigRep staff with the standard-issue wastepaper baskets are vying for a funky new yellow, orange, black or green Kinky Korb!

Man holding Kinky Korb paper bin
Investigating the Kinky Korb

NOWlab is the research and innovation hub within BigRep that endlessly searches for new ways to scale and shape additive manufacturing for tailored industrial use cases. NOWlab's team of experts work to create custom industrial application solutions using cutting-edge, patent-owned production methods and processes. As a key player in the research sphere, NOWlab is leading BigRep’s journey to discover the future of industrial manufacturing and products.

3D printing applied to Cultural Heritage: sculpture from Sergei Merkurov

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Sergei Merkurov (26.10.1881 – 8.06.1952), was a prominent Soviet sculptor-monumentalist of Greek-Armenian descent (Wikipedia).

In 1930 he created a massive bas-relief sculpture in a typical soviet-style for the Dynamo football stadium in Moscow.

Stadium of the Dynamo Moscow
Stadium of the Dynamo Moscow

Due to climate and outside display, over time the condition of the sculpture deteriorated.

The remainder of the sculpture is planned to be moved to the new Dynamo stadium which is currently under construction (for the World Cup 2018 in Russia).
However, moving the bas-relief is a hazardous task and possible damage cannot be excluded.

Thanks to the additive manufacturing technology, our customer Krost (via Terem our Russian reseller), one of the most prominent Russian developers and construction companies, was able to replicate a 100 x 70 x 27 cm section of the Merkurov monument. Printed with premium PLA 2,85 mm, on the BigRep ONE.2. We are proud at BigRep to participate to the celebration and preservation of Russian cultural heritage.

3D Printed replicate of a section of the Merkurov monument.
Replicate of a section of the Merkurov monument.


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