Meltables: Fabrication of Complex 3D Curves by Melting


We propose a novel approach to fabricating complex 3D shapes via physical deformation of simpler shapes. Our focus is on objects composed of a set of planar beams and joints, where the joints are thin parts of the object which temporarily become living hinges when heated, close to a fixed angle defined by the local shape, and then become rigid when cooled. We call this class of objects Meltables. We present a novel algorithm that computes an optimal joint sequence which approximates a 3D spline curve while satisfying fabrication constraints. This technique is used in an interactive Meltables design tool. We demonstrate a variety of Meltables, fabricated with both 3D-printing and standard PVC piping.

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