Functional Acoustic Art - The Challenge

Inspired by wasps' and hornets' nests, painter Peter Lang has worked with FIT subsidiary Additive Tectonics to create an unusual piece of art with a sound-absorbing function. The basic idea for the work titled "Silent Orchestra" was developed by Peter Lang in collaboration with acoustics experts from Rosenheim Technical University. The 3D-printed sculpture is made of a multitude of nature-inspired tubes arranged in a honeycomb pattern and will be installed as a large-format sound element hanging from the ceiling in the meeting room of the client where it will also serve to improve the acoustics.

More than ten months of preparation were necessary before the actual production of the artwork could begin. The object was sliced into 43 layers, each contour was drawn by hand on a single 3 x 6 meter fleece sheet. The sheets were then vertically hung, photographed, and a digital, three-dimensional model was created from these originally analog data, thus forming the basis for 3D printing the art object. The software specialists at Additive Tectonics programmed a special algorithm that controls a robot arm to apply material without producing overlaps which would have led to inhomogeneous, wavy layers. The special extrusion technique ensures a rough, fibrous surface which creates the intended sound-absorbing effect.

The material of choice is biocompatible plastic ("Arboblend") which was used in a sustainable, virtually CO2-neutral production process. The color was manually added to the granules with the help of beer, a natural adhesive, and the hand-chosen pigments from Kremer Pigmente. By manually mixing the various granules, the artist achieved a wide variety of color effects during production, creating an original work of art. Within two months then, an analog-digital-analog artwork was created, unique in its form, combining artistic handwork and digital production technology in an unseen way.

Functional Acoustic Art - The Challenge
Functional Acoustic Art - The FIT Solution

Functional Acoustic Art - The FIT Solution

ADM-D and Rapid Prototyping

Feasibility check
Result: Additive manufacturing of the artwork is possible under the condition of defining a specific manufacturing process tailored to the requirements and the programming of an appropriate algorithm for robot control.

Feasibility study
- Materials used: Arboblend plastic granulate, beer, Kremer color pigments
- Technology used: Robotic FDM

A prerequisite for the feasibility of the art object is the specification of a manufacturing process based on the material of choice.

- Material development: the requirements for the material were sustainability, fibrous consistency, good colorability, flame retardancy, and suitability for material extrusion.
- Programming of a complex algorithm that was to avoid material overlaps over an extrusion length of 6 meters, because this would give the layers uneven heights and waves.
- Production development (extrusion technology, heat, speed, etc.)
- Test production

- Additive manufacturing of the piece of art by material extrusion using the Robotic FDM process.
- Constant control of the manufacturing process

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