A New Kind of Puzzle
Puzzles are usually flat or create a symmetric shape. The Lock-Nesters (US Patent Pending) challenge this notion by wrapping up and out at every angle to form a three-dimensional object. With pieces snaking in all directions, the Lock-Nesters challenge us to think about assembly in a new way.
The Lock-Nesters are not made of standardized parts or an accumulation of pixels. Pieces are designed in relation to their own geometry, giving each model a distinct characteristic and seams that accentuate its form. The Lock-Nesters utilize fabrication methodologies that rely on digital files rather than physical molds, meaning that the cost of customized parts is equal to those that are standardized. This technology is leveraged by utilizing completely unique pieces whose production has been until now financially unfeasible.
Fleet Hower has partnered with 3D Hubs to produce and sell the Lock-Nesters. 3D Hubs is a network of over 8000 3D printers in 140 countries working to make 3D printing accessible by making use of idle 3D printers. 3D Hubs facilitates transactions between 3D printer owners (Hubs) and people that want to receive 3D prints.
If you order from this site you will receive a Lock-Nester produced by Fleet Hower Design Office. 3D Hubs also has a marketplace from which you can order a Lock-Nester. Upon ordering from the 3D Hubs marketplace you will then be able to choose a hub that has been Lock-Nester certified to print your product, and pick from that hub's available colors.
This distributed manufacturing model is one of the first of its kind and the Lock-Nesters are all very enthusiastic about being produced across the world. They believe it empowers designers to distribute their work with less hurdles, employs technology to manufacture products that previously would have been cost-prohibitive, and cuts out layers of logistics that bring little or no added value to the product.
Why 3D Printing?
From the beginning of their design the Lock-Nesters demanded a close collaboration between computer modeling and physical prototyping. The pieces of several models did not fit together until a second or third attempt, and achieving a design in which they easily interlock and come apart was even more confounding. The speed and efficiency of prototyping with a desktop 3D printer is what made the Lock-Nesters a reality.
The Lock-Nesters are interested in utilizing 3D printing to produce products that otherwise would not or could not be made. The pieces' organic shapes present serious challenges to more conventional means of production such as molding or casting. The Lock-Nesters want to use contemporary manufacturing technology not to create new versions of old products, but to create new products all together. If we can produce our work in a new way, we should conceptualize and design it differently as well.
Each Lock-Nester is healthily obsessed with his or her geometry. Instead of a sculpture that has surface only on the exterior, the Lock-Nesters required that the exterior, interior, and middle surface of their pieces all be thoroughly designed. Talk about high maintenance!
It is the middle surfaces that most help the pieces fit snugly. The concave or convex nature of these surfaces, as well as the model's overall curvature in that area, determines whether two pieces will hold or fall apart. When you sit down and give your assembled Lock-Nester a satisfied look, remember it's what's inside that really counts.