Bringing 3-D Power to the People

Sofa Rough Sketch

Bringing 3-D Power to the People? The New York Times, March 27, 2014 I’m one of those people …as a designer I knew I had to learn about 3-D printing but what I didn’t know is that I’d fall in love with it.

I’ve had my own interior-design business for 25 years and, yes, things have changed since my first hand-drawn working drawings for my first client. I just finished writing an article for the online magazine Better After 50 talking about my discovery of 3-D printing.

I decided to use this technology to help produce a sofa commission. As I create more and more furniture, 3-D printing will definitely be a tool that I will use. For those of you who have wondered how these things get created, here’s the steps that I went through to produce the final product:

Sofa Rough Sketch
I start by drawing a rough sketch with dimensions. The arm slopes downward which was difficult to convey in my rough sketch.
Sofa 3D Draft
My fab draftsperson interprets my rough drawing. In this stage I can maneuver the drawing in a program called MeshLab so I can see the sofa at all angles.
3D Photo Prep Rendering
Once I finalize all aspects of the sofa, it is then put into the 3-D printing program. This step is complicated by the fact that the drawing is created from the inside out, using a completely different methodology.
Three dimensional sofa prep.
And voila! My first 3-D printed object in plastic so well done by the company Shapeways. This is about 8 inches long. I took this to my upholsterer’s framer and said: build this! The arms were complicated to explain and this model did that perfectly.
Safa Frame Raw
Here’s the frame raw. I was able to further draw – right onto the frame – a tweak to the arm curve. There’s still nothing like seeing the real thing.
Sofa cover over frame
The next step is to cover the frame in foam with hand-tied springs and webbing. At this stage I brought in the client for a sit test; if we want to make the seat softer or firmer, or the back slightly different in pitch, this is the time to do that.
The final step and finished product.
The Finished Sofa!