Author Archives: Melissa Long

Project A3 _ Hexwall Prototype

As further exploration on our ‘hexwall’ design we decided to evaluate the design on a 2D bases.  Using the same grasshopper script as on our last iteration, we created an undulating hex pattern on a 2D surface.  To give the surface depth, the pattern was then elevated and offset in forward and backward intervals. This allows the wall to stand up, as well as gives visual interest.

The baked forms created from the grasshopper script manipulated into laser cut sheets

Sheets of 1/8″ thick Illustrator board laser cut and painted.

CNC_Digital Design & Computation_Presentation

CNC Milling Presentation

CNC_Digital Design & Computation

The development of the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machine is a relatively new resource to the fabrication industry.  Developed in the 1950’s the CNC machine originated as a Number Control machine that would run off of punch tape.  The development of the operating system ‘G-Code’ made the computer integral to the machining process as well as easier to use.  The rising prices of labor in the 1960’s along with the industry’s switch to computer aided design made CNC machining more popular.  The industry has since expanded into the personal market thanks to cheaper processors making the machines more affordable to build and run.

Today, there is a wide variety of CNC machines in use.  The main three types are CNC Lathes, CNC Mills, and CNC routers.  CNC lathes operate by a rotation.  The piece to be cut is rotated by the machine while the drill bit passes horizontally along the rotating material.  CNC lathes have X and Y cut capabilities.  For CNC mills, the bit stays stationary while the bed moves the material around.  This allows for a wider variety of cuts, along the X,Y, and Z axes.  An example of an CNC mill is the AutoProfiler in the shop at DAAP.  A CNC router is technically a type of a CNC mill.   However, with CNC routers the material stays stationary and the router moves over the material through a cut path.  CNC routers are predominately used for woodworking but can also be used on other materials such as metal.

A variety of objects can be made by using the mentioned milling processes.  Further manipulations can be made to the object by controlling the feed of the material, speed of the bit, and the cut of the tool path.  Machines such as the Komo at DAAP have over 32 bits which can be run at over 30 speeds creating an infinite amount of cuts possible.  Due to this wide variety of cutting options, designing for the machine becomes import.   The correct combination of tool paths, materials, and bit speeds allows for an efficient use of the machine as well as a uniquely designed product.  It is only through practice and study that one can become versed in the wide capabilities of the CNC machine.  Though initially expensive to learn, efficiently running the CNC machine can be very aiding to the design process.

Due to the exponential growth in technology as well as increased demand for CNC machines, new capabilities are being developed every day. An example is the Hexapod Robot CNC Router which is a CNC router mounted on a robots body.  This allows the router to do more complicated cuts as well as for the user to have more control of the cut.  The Hexapod Robot CNC Router is also a more compact form of the CNC, making the technology available in a wider variety of environments.  It is amazing to think one day we could have our own personal CNC routers in studio allowing for more complex models and architectural studies




Melissa Long, Ross Battoclette, Tony Mangione, Baxin Ren


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