3D printing is an area of intense study where product design is concerned. We’re always hearing stories about how designers conceptualise products in CAD and bring them into the three-dimensional world with 3D printing. This is nothing new, but with technologies getting better and better, and designers finding more value in it, these use cases are increasing and becoming more interesting.
A case in point is ED LIGHTING, a design studio that designs and creates lamps designed by architect Ettore Lariani and lighting designer Claudio Molinelli. Their projects focus on industrial design and call for innovative manufacturing techniques to realise the shapes and geometries drawn up, as well as their functionality. One of these techniques is 3D printing, for which they use HP Multi Jet Fusion technology.
The Geometrie Collection
The way Molinelli sees it, the industrial designs ED LIGHTING creates are strongly influenced by additive manufacturing itself, with the technology capable of realising design objects that would be otherwise impossible to create.
Imaged above: INCLINE light.
By adopting 3D printing technology, Molinelli is able to bring together elements of traditional design with the advantages of additive manufacturing. One of the most notable projects to benefit from this is the Geometrie Collection, a collection of three LED lamps which combine technology and craftsmanship.
The Geometrie Collection lamps are composed of an aluminium profile, Plexiglas diffuser, and components of hand-finished oak. Alternatively, the oak outer casing is replaced with HP 3D HR PA 12, a 40% glass bead filled thermoplastic material with both optimal mechanical properties and high reusability. It’s ideally suited to housings and casings and is designed to reproduce excellent detail.
HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology
The three lamps, which are called Incline, Eccentrica and Sinuosa, were always going to incorporate 3D printing into their design. The team tried SLS and FFF technologies, but found the parts required finishing by hand. They wanted an alternative that could produce parts ready to go fresh from the print bed.
Imaged above: ECCENTRICA light.
This led them to HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology, which right off the bat proved faster and more productive than SLS and FFF processes. With MJF, the team is able to create a three-dimensional model with sharpened proportions for all details.
“Upon closing this phase, the file is sent to the 3D printing service, which in a few days delivers the already-finished pieces with which we assemble the first prototypes,” says Molinelli. “They are evaluated, the necessary adjustments are made on the digital model, and we refer to the service for a second prototyping phase. To produce the definitive 3D components of the Geometrie Collection, three prototyping steps were enough to obtain the finished, tested, and saleable product.”
“HP MJF has allowed us to avoid the costs of industrial moulds. With HP MJF, the components are already finished, and they don’t require additional manpower.”
Yielding the benefits of 3D printing
3D printing with the right technology (MJF) has enabled ED LIGHTING to manufacture products to exact specification. They are able to meet their aesthetic, material and physical requirements and produce parts in-house. In addition to reducing costs versus using an external partner (which would also be impossible, unless they had access to MJF) they have been able to reduce the need for industrial moulds too.
Imaged above: SINUOSA light.
The quality of the material has also proven exceptional. HP 3D HR PA 12 is heat resistant, chemically inert and dimensionally stable. It is also strong and tough, making it the perfect material for functional prototyping and end-use parts.
Because 3D printing is performed in-house, the team are also able to customise their lights for each customer on request. The casings that are 3D printed can be engraved and embossed, perhaps with a name or company brand.
“Ettore and I are designers and we love challenges,” says Molinelli. “We like to experiment with innovations. ED LIGHTING was born in 2017 with the Geometrie Collection, and we believe that HP 3D Printing technology will help us go far.”
"As soon as possible, we will test colours, and then we want to design a low-cost lighting fixture that is completely 3D printed, emphasizing the potential of HP MJF technology, perhaps in a single component. “Next year we would like to design a new collection with high performing illumination features.”
3D printer: HP Jet Fusion series.
This case study was first covered by HP. All images are credited to ED Lighting, with thanks to ED Lighting. If you enjoyed this case study, you can find more like it at our engineering and manufacturing page. To find out more about HP Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology, read our guide.