Bandsawn Bands

While the rising trend of research in robotic fabrication has furthered the development of parametric or mass-customization concepts in architecture, the majority of these projects are still cut or assembled from standardized blocks of material. Although the use of nonstandard, ‘found’ components provides an additional layer of complexity and constraint to the design/fabrication process, it can compensate for these challenges by enabling more sustainable material practices and the production of unique objects that cannot be reproduced.

This article by Ryan Luke Johns and Nicholas Foley, illustrates a materially efficient technique for designing and fabricating freeform surfaces within the constraints of irregular wood flitches. The process utilizes a robotically operated bandsaw to cut a series of curved strips which, when rotated and laminated, can approximate doubly-curved and digitally defined geometry. By delimiting the design space by both the ‘machinic morphospace’ (Menges in Rob|Arch 2012: Robotic Fabrication in Architecture, Art and Industrial Design, Springer, Vienna, pp. 28–47, 2012) of the fabrication technique and the naturally defined curvatures and constraints of the flitch, the customized control software and machining processes confer the capabilities of digital fabrication onto materially tailored and operator-informed woodcraft.

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