Three surreal plant-like 3D prints with microscopic textures.Three surreal plant-like 3D prints with microscopic textures.


4D Printing | Procedural 3D modelling

Vascular 3D printed plant forms created with new PolyJet feature that enables printing with liquid

The Polyphtes utilise Liquid Print to create fluidic models that perform like vascular systems in plants. The project demonstrates the dynamic qualities of 4D printing by creating 3D prints that can function and change their aesthetic as various mediums flow through their internal channels; water, air, smoke, icing sugar, bubble mixture and soap. The physical effects seen in the film evoke the beauty of natural pollination and the transportation of nutrients in plant life.

Design Tools

Houdini, Stratasys J850 3D Printer + Liquid Print, Premiere Pro


Project completed through MADE group from Victoria University of Wellington, directed by Ross Stevens. Access to new software through Stratasys Research Package.

Precursor Project


Water and bubbles travelling through plant-like 3D print.Smoke emitting from rows of 3D printed daisy-like forms.Bubbles growing from centre of blue 3D printed flower.Water droplets emerging from pores in 3D printed leaf.Top view of 3D printed plant-like forms with syringe and tubing.Close-up of 3D printed leaf blade showing intricate striped pattern.
Screenshot from Houdini showing internal tendril structures.
Screenshot from Houdini showing internal vein structures.
Screenshot from Houdini showing internal striped structures.

Printing with liquid

The Polyphytes explore a new feature of PolyJet technology - Liquid Print. This allows the creation of airtight cavities filled with liquid inside an object. Previously, such cavities would have been filled with support material and difficult to clean out.

The Polyphytes are created in Houdini with a series of internal channels, some as small as 1mm in diameter. Parts of their procedurally generated patterning can be seen in the images above. The models are printed on the Stratasys J850 in full-colour rigid photopolymer resin with variable levels of opacity. The enclosed voids are initially filled with PolyJet cleanser (liquid) which is drained out in post-production. This allows the channels to become instantly free-flowing.

Close-up of branching pattern of 3D printed plant-like form.Hand holding 3D printed plant-like form.Close-up of blue 3D printed petal with curved vein patterning.