Formlabs - 2018Project: Production Managment
Lead Design: Marcelo Coelho
Aranda/Lasch Metal Fabricator: Caliper Studio
Formlabs designs and manufactures 3D Printers in Boston.
They hired me to help solve the design and fabrication of the world's largest lens. It needed to withstand the environment in Times Square during the winter and be almost enitrely 3d printed.
This posed several environmental obstacles: the structure would need to be able to stand up against cold, wind, water, UV exposure, and of course, New York City crowds.
4 months, 918 tiles, 50 3D Printers, and 1 dedicated team later, it became the most instagrammed spot in New York that month.
This video should provide a bit of perspective regarding the scale of the project. Facilitating art riggers for the move from Brooklyn to TSQ was wild.
“— Joaquin Bonifaz, Partner & Production Director, aranda/lasch
We collaborated with Dan on the Times Square installation. This project was extremely challenging. It had a short time frame with an inflexible deadline; it demanded precision, speed and creativity. We were happy to work with Dan as he delivered on all these points.
Since the project was a first of its kind we had to go through numerous trial and error tests. Each demanded innovative solutions and accurate result tracking.
Dan's attention to detail and great work ethic made him an indespensible part of the team.
The depth and spacing of the rings determined its optics. 3D modeling a Fresnel lens isn’t too complex if the process is agile.
We developed a parametric 3D model using Rhino and Grasshopper. This organized process helped us avoid confusion between the 918 parts during the finishing and construction steps.
Choosing the right adhesive required considering the assembly process, the sculpture’s ultimate optical clarity, and how the final part would stand up to outdoor conditions.
The material needed to have a refractive index similar to that of acrylic to create continuity. It also needed to be flexible, accounting for thermal expansion and wind.
Designing a manual tiling system.
Although the tiles were 3D printed at .01mm accuracy, it was up to us to design a manual tiling system that would allow for the accurate placement of hundreds of radial tiles.
Rectilinear tiling methods use plastic spacers, horizontal leveling tools and mortar as the adhesive. Tiles are typically uniform and are usually laid in an XY-grid pattern, which makes it easy to maintain accuracy over large wall spans. With a lens, it is much more difficult.
A laser-cut polar array template.
28 different tile types had to be laid out in a radial pattern. This meant that these tiles never met perfectly at a corner. We found other references to maintain both local and global accuracy.
We designed 13 custom spacers, and laser cut 2,000 of them.
Adhesive walled silicone injection.
Flat-bottomed tiles. Double-sided OCHV tape walled borders. Injected w/ Smooth-On Encapso® K, a two-part UV-resistant silicone rubber that dries clear in 24 hours.
Rectilinear tiling methods use plastic spacers, horizontal leveling tools and mortar as the adhesive. Tiles are typically uniform and are usually laid in an XY-grid pattern, which makes it easy to maintain accuracy over large wall spans. With a radial lens configuration, it is much more difficult.
Formlabs is home to some of the top creative talent in the world.
I was thrilled at the opportunity to partner with such an easy going, welcoming team of super creative and driven individuals.
If you’re ever in Boston, be sure to grab a drink with these wonderful people. Learn how they’ve grown from Kickstarter to the most successful SLA/SLS printer company around.
Like this project and want to chat about what I could do for you? Hit me up!