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Carbon3D Collaboration

Year  |  2018

Company  |  Incase

Project Role |  Industrial Design


With the aid of algorithms and collaboration with Carbon3D, Incase visioned the industry’s first mass-produced 3D-manufactured protection accessories. By obtaining in-house 3D manufacturing facilities and on-demand iterations and customizations, we wanted to connect with the users within smaller footprints, resources, and better products. This project was announced but disconnected. However, it was a huge learning curve that changed the way I think about product design. 


Carbon3D is a 3D manufacturing provider based in Silicone Valley that attained recognition after Dr. Joseph DeSimone demonstrated rapid 3D printing during a TED talk in 2015. The popularity has begun since Adidas announced a partnership for their first 3D printed midsole: Futurecraft. 

3D Printing in Design

One of the enormous design advantages of 3D printing is designers are no longer limit their ideas to manufacturability. It opened to more creativity, quicker iterations, and efficiencies. In contrast to injection molding and traditional manufacturing methods, it enables highly complex structures, including lattices and interweaving structures. Incase envisioned substantial operational efficiencies; potentially reduce inventories, R&D costs, carbon footprints, tooling costs, labor, supply chain, and time to market. We could also control material use, material wastes, and more efficient product customization without minimum order quantity. 

Algorithms Aided Design

With the aid of algorithms, we wanted to design and engineer highly complex lattice structures known to be strong in compression and shear in the lightest frame achievable. Many examples are found in nature, such as hollowed cells in honeycombs, spicules in sea sponges, and sponge-like porous bone tissue. For example, human bone, the sponge-like tissue filled inside the hard bone, acts as a shock absorber during movements. It moves around the bone and adapts changes along the stress direction; it becomes denser in the stress areas to resist the external loading. Like bone tissue moves and adjusts to changes, algorithms in design can also optimize to have higher strength in the areas that need more protection, like the corners and frame. Thus, we could effortlessly achieve variable cell shapes, sizes, strand thicknesses, calculate compression strength, and iterate to the desired performance.


These are some of the early-stage concepts and executions.