You might remember 4 AXYZ. A couple of months ago we wrote about the start-up’s plan to create the world’s first widely accessible, truly effective method for 3D printing wood. Using a stratified additive manufacturing process that prints small, uniformly cut wood pieces that are secured in layers to create larger objects, it could revolutionise carpentry.
As well as making life easier for the furniture designer and making customisable furniture more affordable for the consumer, the process would also lead to the possibility of ‘Smart Wood’ – a new type of material that reacts to the atmosphere around it.
This week, 4 AXYZ has announced the next step in the process, with the launch of a one million dollar crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. In order to bring its new manufacturing method to the masses, the business needs $1.5 million that will purchase a printer capable of handling such an innovative undertaking and another 500 grand to develop the Computer Aided Design element.
Those figures, alongside the $300,000 of Research and Development that 4 AXYZ has already invested, show just how huge a project this is.
While one million will be raised through investment from within the furniture industry, 4 AXYZ is turning to crowdfunding to make the rest.
As you might imagine, backers will be expected to part with a pretty big chunk of change to get behind the project, but the rewards for investing are truly impressive. For a pledge of $500 you can get items like 3D printed wood frames, wall clocks and lounge chairs. For a pledge of $3,000 you can get a whole dining set. A pledge of $10,000 will get you a commissioned wall panel.
If 4 AXYZ succeeds, the advantages for both customers and designers are many. Furniture buyers would be given a level of choice in terms of the pieces they purchase that currently is the reserve of only the biggest spending shopper. Designers would be able to tweak and modify their furniture with remarkable ease thanks to CAD. Interior designers would be able to add a whole new level of personalisation to the rooms they create for clients. Plus, there is the reduction in labour costs that is always offered by additive manufacturing.
Then there is Smart Wood. These pieces will be printed with embedded electronics, sensors and conductive metals. So, for example, you could print a window that links to your thermostat, changing to suit the shifts in weather and the atmosphere.
Whether it succeeds or fails, it’s certainly the most exciting and, potentially, ground breaking crowdfunding campaign launched this week.