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Mona Neubauer

19. January 2014

In our course 'Digital Fabrication' we had to choose a material and a technique from a morphologic box which we developed in our class. My theme was 'KNITTING PAPER'.
During my research I was looking into knitting patterns, cell structures of cellulose – the basic material of paper, as well as where the material paper comes from – trees and wood.
Surprisingly I found that the cell structures of cellulose reminded of a knitting/crochet pattern, which also reminded of stapled wood.
2. Computational Designs
With the structures of the research in mind, I started to build ellipses in Rhino. I used the cellulose image (figure above) as template and overlapped the ellipses to imitate the interlocked knitting pattern. I drew them differently in the two layers to get angular cylinders. I was very interested in the overlapping structures that I thought couldn't be built other than with 3D-printing.
Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-09-um-16.33.19   3D-Druckmodelle_2322
After printing my Rhino draft, I realized, that the 3D printer couldn't draw the circles and its intersections as unique shape but instead it drew each inner circumferences separately, which created very weak connections points between the single cylinders.
I tried different overlapping forms (one sided vs. two sided overlapping, different overlapping extent) and there again I observed the same challenges.
I tried then a different approach, with the 3D print pen (Doodler), by drawing the forms. This time I was confronted with the another issue again on the connection points. With this technique for each passage at the intersection a double layer was added.
3D-Druckmodelle_2297   3D-Druckmodelle_2299
With no other solution in mind I dropped the initial structure with the intersections and developed a new model without overlaps. The model was drawn to create the feeling of angular cylinders (i.e. one side of the cylinder had a different shape from the opposite side). The first sketch was drawn in Illustrator, then in Rhino:
Zellen-für-Rhino   Zellen-nicht-überlappend_exp-ilu
While printing the 3D sketch (above) with Cura this printing program did not recognize how the cylinders were connected.
The next step was to look for a cell like form for which the connections are well defined. This brought me to the Voronoi structures. I then generated the Voronoi forms with Processing, which was then used for the 3D prints.
3. First Ideas and Main Concept
The initial idea was to model the structures (cylinders) into 3D forms where one side view would appear like tree trunks in a forest and the other perspective (top view)  would allow to look through the structure. The following idea was to use the printed model as a mould and fill it with handmade paper to create a paper shape.
The mould was designed to allow the separation of the 3D print and the newly created paper model.
 Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-17.44.03_web Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-17.44.56_web Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-17.46.47_web
I also did some research around the paper properties and I used the following:
- light
- thin
- recyclable
- flexible
- stable
- firm
- low density
- sustainable
- low volume
- low price
These properties make the paper of an interesting material for light weight construction while being a sustainable resource. (source: Unfolded - Paper in Design, Art, Architecture and Industry, by Petra Schmidt and Nicola Stattmann) 
Paper is composed of water, cellulose, filling material, binder and coating. By modifying each of these variables it is possible to generate paper with different properties. This variables combinations are used nowadays,  for example to create:
- conductive paper in which the filling material is conductive
- paper with a silicone coating, which makes the material waterproof.
The next thought was about exploring the possibility to built paper structures with a 3D printer from a micro- to its macrostructure.
As an example, (1) single cellulose fibers could be printed with silicone coating, (2) conductive fibers could be added to the cellulose fibers and (3) its fibers arrangement (in shape, direction and quantity) would allow modifying the end product flexibility/stability, as required. This would allow endless possibilities of new paper creations.
4. Modelling and Fabrication process
3D printed models:
3D-Druckmodel_2427_bw   3D-Druckmodelle_2285
Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-14.07.36_web Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-14.07.23_web Bildschirmfoto-2014-01-15-um-14.06.53_web
3D-Druckmodelle_2232_bw   3D-Druckmodelle_2238_bw
3D-Druckmodelle_2253_bw   3D-Druckmodelle_2245_bw
3D-Druckmodelle_2270_bw   3D-Druckmodelle_2268_Bw  3D-Druckmodelle_2262_2_bw
paper making process:
IMG_4047_web IMG_4054_webIMG_4050_web IMG_4059_web IMG_4067_web IMG_4094_web
Structures created with paper:
3D-Druckmodel_2468_bw    3D-Druckmodel_2464_bw     3D-Druckmodel_2449_bw    3D-Druckmodel_2459_2_bw     3D-Druckmodel_2435_bw   
5. Final Outcome
With the prints and paper models I wanted to illustrate examples of different creations:
Visualization for printed microstructure, on cellular level:
Visualization for printed macrostructure, built on the generated microstructures and resulting in unique properties:
3D-Druckmodelle_2232_modell   3D-Druckmodelle_2245_modell   3D-Druckmodelle_2262_2_pflanzen