Making intelligent materials
This work was developed for a course called fabricating customization. Here our group was interested in how industrial robots could be used to develop building components with embedded intelligence. This process began with an exploration of cut patterns which could be used to expand sheet material. The patterns performed both functional and ornamental purposes, allowing the base material to be stretched and opened in different ways based on how it was cut and expanded. These patterns were generated, at first manually and later on using Grasshopper.
Starting in paper, we laser cut small scale tests, making jigs and miniature tools to study the expansion of each pattern. When we found a pattern which was particularly compelling, we moved from cutting paper to cutting sheet metal. This was done using an ABB industrial robotic arm with a plasma cutter mounted to it. The material was then expanded using a second robotic arm on to which we mounted custom build tools. Variation was created both through changes in the patterns and in the tool path through which the robotic arm interacted with the sheet metal.