The design files are sent to EOS GmbH, a Munich-based factory with six different types of laser-sintering machines. Before they begin, a slicing software divides the Trabecula into some 6,000 cross sections that are about 1/12-mm thick, which, according to Kyttänen, is “crude by today’s standards.” (Direct metal-sintering machines, which layer and fuse material with electron beams, can work in layers as this as 20 microns.)
The bench is much larger than the sintering “build envelope” in which it’s made—a rectangular space that’s 15 by 27 by 23 inches, where the laser will move in x-y-z axes. This means that before slicing, Kyttänen has divided the drawing into three parts, and arranged them to fit in the bucket. “It’s like playing 3-D Tetris all the time.” Built into the sliced parts are interlocking pin joints—–something along the lines of dowel joints in carpentry, though Kyttänen prefers the image of pins that join broken bones, since the Trabecula was inspired by the light-but-strong structure of bird bones.