Since the computer became an important tool in our life, the design possibilities are greatly increased. However, the translation of this computational design is often done through printed plans, which are then realized with traditional construction methods. All of the information available in digital form, gets lost in this last step. Digital manufacturing is changing this by creating a direct link between design and production. The real object is like an exact copy of the virtual model.
SPIF stands for Single Point Incremental Forming. By using an industrial robot to push the metal gradually along a specific tool path, a wide variety of geometries becomes possible. Since there is no mold needed for this process, it is ideal for prototyping and producing small batches. As each panel can be different, free form architecture may also be an interesting field of application.
Through one or more test cases I would like to explore the possibilities of this technique in an architectural context. Possible applications are, for example, a self-supporting wall or self-supporting roof construction. For example I modeled a structure, based on an existing project from a carport, and subjected it to a certain load. In the second case a grid of ribs is added on the geometry. We can see clearly that the deflection decreases substantially by using a geometry with more depth.
Since it is an integrated process from design to production, it may be interesting to handle all of this in one software. That's why also the tool path, needed to control the robot, is generated in Grasshopper. This plugin provides a parametric environment for Rhinoceros3D. As an output it will give a series of coordinates and direction vectors.
Gert-Willem Van Gompel
Master of Engineering: Architecture