A group of University of Tokyo students overseen by architect Kengo Kuma have developed a 3D-printing pen that can be used to create complex architectural structures out of plastic sticks.
The constructions – described by the team as "large-scale hand-drawn structures" – are formed when a user manually prints out strings of thermoplastic filament, guided by a digital tracking system.
The strings bond with the acrylic rods, creating forms that have good structural stability in tension and also some strength in compression. This makes the structures more durable than most 3D-printed forms, but also allows each user to adopt their own preferences during fabrication.
Kevin Clement, a member of the design team, believes the technology could help to prove that human instinct still has a role to play in digital construction technologies.