3D printing is set to revolutionize manufacturing. Also called additive manufacturing, 3D printing is a way to make three-dimensional objects from digital models. While 3D printers have been around for 30 years, it’s only been in the last year or two that they have become efficient, accessible, and even commonplace.

The sky’s the limit to the applications for 3D printing. It’s being used to customize mass produced items, manufacture household items like clocks and flashlights, and create limited edition jewelry. It’s only natural that this dynamic process is being applied to furniture and home furnishings. Let’s take a look at a few exciting examples.

1. Furniture Prototypes

With 3D printing furniture designers can easily create prototypes from which they can test and refine their products before going into production. 3D printing also allows designers to customize their designs with bespoke elements. Shown is a prototype of a lightweight pedestal chair and table.

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2. Binary Furniture Collection

Designed by Richard Liddle, founder of the UK-based design firm Cohda and printed by Freedom of Creative, the binary table combines the principles of the Spirograph toy of the 1960s with 3D printing. I’m not sure if this is a practical table, but it’s certainly impressive!

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3. 3D Printed Furniture by Dirk Vander Kooij

Dutch designer Dirk Vander Kooij transformed an industrial robot into a 3d printer he calls Furoc. Furoc can create a chair like this endless rocking chair in various colours and designs within three hours, which is 40 times faster than traditional 3D printing.

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4. Sketch Furniture by Front

Sketch is a furniture line by Front, a Swedish design studio. Sketches made in the air are recorded with Motion Capture, turned into 3D digital files, and 3D printed as real furniture, like this chair. I

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5. Salone Milan 2011

Odd configurations characterize the 3D furniture of EventArchitectuur and Minale-Maeda. This unique wooden piece appeared at Salone Milan 2011.

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6. Batoidea Chair by Peter Donders

Belgian designer Peter Dander’s aptly calls his elegant, light, and airy chair “batoidea,” which means stingray. Without 3D print technology, an aluminium cast chair such as this would be prohibitively expensive to manufacture, however with additive manufacturing there is little to no waste.

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7. Create Your Own Door Handles

The company i.materialise offers a kit and manual that provides designers, 3D modellers, and CAD engineers everything they need to design and make their own stainless steel door handles.

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8. Designer Chairs from Melted Refrigerators

Dirk Vander Kooij prints his Pulse Chair entirely from old refrigerators that have been melted down, with green dye added for colour. The contemporary style chairs are not only made from recycled materials, they are also recyclable and comfortable – apparently.

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9. Multithread Tables

Designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram used software they developed to change the shape of the branch-like joints of their Multithread pieces to make them stronger. This colourful table base would traditionally be fairly complicated to manufacture, however, with the help of 3D printing it is as simple as providing a digital model of the design.

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10. One Shot by Patrick Jouin

The beautiful, innovative, and practical One Shot stool folds up like an umbrella and spreads out again in an elegant movement. Complementing its skeletal structure, this sturdy 3D-printed stool looks and feels like bone.

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11. Bloom by Materialise

Designed by Patrick Jouin and produced by Materialise, Bloom lights combine traditional craftworks with modern technology. The articulated shade opens and closes like a blooming lotus flower. Bloom is 3D printed in one piece—including the shade—so requires no assembly.

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So there you have it, a roundup of some of the most innovative pieces of 3D furniture.

Do you have any experience of 3D printing? Would you put one of these designs in your home?

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