Cube-Shaped Kite Uses 3D-Printed Tech To Sail the Skies (Video)
Beautiful and light, kites are tethered aircraft which harness the power of the wind. While kites come on all shapes and sizes, this gorgeous cube-shaped sculpture by UK-based artists Heather and Ivan Morison also doubles as a kite, even though it initially seems too heavy to fly.
Seen over at Dezeen, the Morisons' "Little Shining Man" kite utilizes over 23,000 pieces, comprising of carbon fiber rods, handmade composite fabric usually seen in yacht sails and customized, 3D-printed nylon connectors that hold it all together. The result is a sturdy structure that is still light enough to take flight.
The sculpture in its entirety actually comes in three parts, which are intended to hang in an atrium of a the client, a real estate development firm.
The Morisons, best known for their intriguing installations, worked in collaboration with with London architectural designer Sash Reading and Birmingham fabrication design studio Queen and Crawford, to realize this amazing kite:
The design of the structure is based around the tetra kites of Alexander Graham Bell. A double wing module has been duplicated and arranged into a tight cellular structural arrangement that appears as a heavy, un-flyable cubic mass. Utilising lightweight materials and the symmetry of the module and composition, it is able to fly freely and steadily. [..]
Queen & Crawford designed a joint system, the CKJ_01, a universal Nylon joint that would handle every connection in the composition. We work closely with 3TRPD in Newbury who are at the cutting edge of the Rapid Prototyping Industry. Printing the joints allows us to quickly design, produce, test and refine in a short time frame. The material is light and strong, perfect for this application.
It's a creatively dazzling work that could even have more pragmatic applications: one could imagine such a fleet of these aerial structures, outfitted with pzeioelectric components so that they can generate electricity from the vibrations of the wind as they float in the sky.
To see more of Heather and Ivan Morison's work, check out their website.