Project Details

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Extrusion head for Mid-air 3D printing freehand 3D sketches

Company: PSU SCDC University of Montreal, Hyve 3D

Primary: ME
Secondary: EE
Optional: IE

Non-Disclosure Agreement: NO

Intellectual Property: YES

In the context of the research project: Printed 3D sketches: a new media for ideation (PI T. Dorta & Collaborator J. Pinto Duarte), we would like to look for innovative ideas to develop a mid-air 3D printing technique in the form of an extruding head to be used with freehand 3D strokes (polyline 3D vectors). Abstract: At the beginning of the design process, during the ideation phase, it is necessary to externalize mental images through drawings or to use these last ones to generate new ideas. When the sketches are not enough to master the form and proportions of the design artifact, physical representations like models are indispensable. Architecture and industrial design, among other design disciplines, use physical models to conceive their ideas. In the field of product design, these models should be at full scale. On the other hand, in architecture, smaller scales are inevitable since it would be too complicated to fabricate full-sized models of a building. This research project aims to study the impact of 3D sketches during the ideation process, by making them physical through digital fabrication. This way, designers will not be limited to the visualization of 3D sketches but will be able to manipulate them and perceive them tangibly, in combination with the use of materials like cardboard and fabric, to master the artifact that they design. This new media of representation for ideation will also have an impact on the teaching/learning and the practice of design. The challenge: Instead of 3D printing such sketches with FDM techniques, the idea will be to use a robotic arm to extrude the 3D printed stroke in the 3D space (mid-air) while maintaining the right speed to allow the material to solidify (i.e., by ventilation), using few or any supports. Since the goal is to explore different design options during the process, we would like to use a plastic material that can be reused (i.e., PLA). The extrusion head can be installed in different robotic arm sizes to allow the 3D printing of diverse freehand sketched models of design projects: furniture, cars, and bus shelters. References: Taouai A, Dorta T. From immersive to physical sketches: A new 3D representation mode during ideation. In: Abdelmohsen, S (ed.), Architecture in the age of disruptive technologies: Transformations and challenges - Proceedings of the 9th ASCAAD Conference, Cairo, Egypt, 2-4 Mars 2021. (



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