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Giant Robot Prints Chairs From Ground-Up Refrigerators [Video]

Just watch the video!

We know that headline sounds totally absurd, but bear with us, because what we've got here will blow. Your. Mind.

The robot we speak of is Fanuc, a clunky, but speedy old machine late of a Chinese production line. The refrigerators: disused models ground up into bead-like bits. The chairs — the work of Dutch design student Dirk Vander Kooij — are made by melting the refrigerator bits, then tapping Fanuc to squeeze the resulting goo out of a tube, layer by layer in a pre-programmed sequence, as if decorating a cake. Two hours later, you've spawned a sturdy, modern little chair that looks like it came straight out of the Blu Dot catalog.

[Fanuc at work]

The chairs are cool and all but what's really exciting is what they represent: a new development in rapid prototyping that bridges the divide between mass production and one-off design. Normally, it takes eons to 3-D print anything bigger than your palm; Fanuc is able to print at a low resolution, so it can do a lot more work in a lot less time. The best part: The chairs still manage to be entirely customizable. Vander Kooij can program Fanuc to spit them out in any shape, size, and color — hell, you could even request stripes. If the machine worked round the clock for a year, it would produce more than 4,000 chairs, each one unique.

Vander Kooij printed a slew of chairs for his thesis project at the Design Academy Eindhoven. No word yet on whether they're for sale. For more info on the designer, go here.

[Update: The chairs are for sale! Each costs 800 Euros or approximately $1050. Email Vander Kooij for details at —Eds]

[Images courtesy of Dirk Vander Kooij]