Friday, December 9, 2011

Shape To Fabrication Evolute-Corian workshop results

This year’s Shape to Fabrication Workshops brought something new to the table – interaction between teams and close cooperation among software developers, hardware developers, and fabricators. Although the cooperation itself created major constraints for the design teams, the constraints proved to be an incentive for the participants to harvest the full power of the digital tools and come up with unexpected, intriguing, and boundary-pushing designs.
The task of Workshop #3 was to design and build a seating area for a projection “room” with developable strips made of thermo-formed Corian. For this task Evolute teamed up with Corian processor, Cutting Edge, whose vast fabrication experience proved to be a key factor for the success of the workshop. The Instructors – Mathias Hoebinger, Florin Isvoranu, and Kevin Hoy worked with a team of talented individuals, architects, designers and restoration artists, namely Alexandros Vazakas, Camilo Diaz, Marcin Gladzik, and Olivier Brouillard, who by the end of day #1 had a feasible design ready for production optimization.

Production optimization involved approximating the double curved free-form surface with developable strips that fit within the very tight workshop constraints such as: time, limited Corian sheets available, Corian sheet size, mould size, machining and thermo-forming time, cut-off minimization, handling restrictions and assembly possibilities. The participants made use of EvoluteTools to globally fit developable strips to the free-form surface they previously designed with Rhinoceros. The global fitting of the strips coupled with the edge-length analysis mode ensured that the unrolled panels fit within the maximum width of the Corian sheets. After the global fitting, each lengthwise strip was treated individually and further optimized, then broken down into perfectly unrollable panels of manageable size. Throughout the production geometry output process Mathias used RhinoScript to automate tasks and assist the fabrication process with data that enabled the Cutting Edge team reduce machining time significantly.

After all the production geometry was handed over to Cutting Edge, the fabrication process was a full all hands on deck experience and everybody “got physical” with the Corian panels, as showcased in the time lapse videos. Although a fun and educational experience for the workshop participants, the fabrication success heavily relied on the experience of the Cutting Edge team, who’s amazing dedication and passion inspired all of us.

The use of developable strips as a smooth approximation of a free-form surface proved to be very successful  both from a manufacturing and aesthetic point of view. After the assembly was completed, the original designed surface  could be easily recognized through the continuous flow of the single curved Corian panels. It needs to be added that the seating area was quite comfortable ! Hopefully you had the chance to enjoy it at the Robofold exhibition.


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