There was plenty of eye candy and food for design thought in this year's crop of digitally fabricated projects. The monster draw was, hands-down, this straight-up piece of bike porn: industrial designer Ralf Holleis' VRZ 2 Track Bike. This trickily-made fixie boasts lugs that one might think are laser sintered; instead, they're laserCUSED, which is the name of a proprietary process so complicated to explain it will get its own entry in future.
A very different type of bicycle also drew many mouseclicks: the "Draisienne" by Samuel Bernier and Andreas Bhend. But like Holleis' creation, you won't be able to buy this one in stores; it was hacked together from an IKEA Frosta stool and bespoke parts produced in a Makerbot Replicator 2, in a collaboration between Bernier and Bhend that (exhaling on fingernails) we believe we inspired.
We all know vinyl doesn't grow on trees, but maple sure does. Instructables editor Amanda Ghassaei blew our minds by turning the stuff into records, after coaxing an Epilog laser cutter into etching the strains of Radiohead and The Velvet Underground into the material's surface.
British commoners might never get to touch the baton, but at least 100 of them got their hands on Namisu's 3D-REX. The 3D-printed Tyrannosaurus Rex skull had a modest Kickstarter goal of £1,500, which was quickly tripled in pledges; the response on both Kickstarter and Core77's traffic charts was, well, dino-mite.
Interestingly enough, some of the most experimental digitally fabricated work we saw this year came from the fashion, not industrial, design sector. Iris van Herpen's cape, skirt and dress for Paris Fashion Week contained contiguous surfaces that went from hard to soft and back again, courtesy of an Objet Connex for the cape and skirt, and Materialise's laser sintering for the dress.
Even more experimental was The T-Shirt Issue's "Muybridge Pt_2" series of shirts, which blended old and new technology in fantastical ways. The shapes of birds in flight were modeled as polygons in a 3D program, and those polygons were then individually separated and turned into 2D sewing patterns; some unlucky seamster or seamstress then had the unenviable task of stitching them all together, creating garments the likes of which no one has ever seen before.
Coming up next, we'll take a look at this year's digital fabrication advances in research and education.