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MIT’s silkworm-powered, fantastical, biological “3D printer”

Posted on Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 in 3D fabrication by DP

mit-silk-pavillion

MIT’s silkworm-powered, fantastical, biological “3D printer” :

The primary structure was created of 26 polygonal panels made of silk threads laid down by a CNC (Computer-Numerically Controlled) machine. Inspired by the silkworm’s ability to generate a 3D cocoon out of a single multi-property silk thread (1km in length), the overall geometry of the pavilion was created using an algorithm that assigns a single continuous thread across patches providing various degrees of density.

Overall density variation was informed by the silkworm itself deployed as a biological “printer” in the creation of a secondary structure. A swarm of 6,500 silkworms was positioned at the bottom rim of the scaffold spinning flat non-woven silk patches as they locally reinforced the gaps across CNC-deposited silk fibers.

Check out the video after the break.

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