In the latest issue of Dwell magazine I saw a short article on how a Dutch design firm called Freedom Of Creation is making furniture by printing it out. Three-dimensional printing is increasingly common as a tool for prototyping and design assessment, but that doesn’t go far enough to suit the folks at Freedom of Creation. They are actually printing out the final piece that gets delivered to the customer using a great big EOSINT polyamide laser sintering machine (a.k.a. the magic 3-d printer). Since the design goes directly from computer to product, no paper sketches or printouts are involved at any point. That’s just as well, because what they’re printing out, the Trabecula Table, is so complex (being modeled on the fine bone structure of bird bones) that drawing it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.
This is a good example of the future that is here but not yet widespread. At 12,500 euros, you might not jump at the chance to buy yourself a Trabecula Table. But other products, cheaper products, like this will follow soon enough.