Monthly Archives: October 2013



Tool Path to create 3D details


Composite Wooden Skin

WoodSkin is a material that looks like wood, but is as flexible as a sheet of plastic. In reality, the material is a tessellation of plywood panels held together by a woven, textile-like vinyl material that allows the sheet to bend in an unlimited array of forms.

The advantage of this system is that the rigidity of the wooden panels and the malleability of the vinyl allows the sheet to be bent and keep its form. It does not require any understructure. The design firm that developed the product compared it to human skin – able to keep its form and offer protection, but is also pliable and able to adjust as the body – or the structure – moves.

Aesthetically, WoodSkin is extremely flexible. Not only does the form change, but the real wood of the panels can be stained and weatherproofed depending on the conditions.  When the material is shaped, light can shine through the cracks between the wooden triangles, which gives it the potential to control lighting as well.  Though still a new development, designers envision that this product could be used for interior and exterior skins, and maybe even screens and temporary walls.

Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete

GFRC is similar to the daap spatial sequence cast concrete we molded freshman year.  Concrete, as we all know, is strong under compression but weak under tension, and is commonly strengthened by casting it around a grid of steel re-bar. Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: concrete reinforced with glass fibers. As in most composite materials, the fiber elements in GFRC can be carefully oriented, or randomly distributed, in the solid matrix. The nice thing about the latter method is that you can just mix the reinforcing fibers into the bulk concrete and don’t have to pre-position them in the mold. GFRC concrete panels can be much thinner and lighter than metal-reinforced slabs, and the glass fibers are not subject to corrosion. That being said, GFRC is typically used for non-structural elements.

Ingredients: Silica Sand, Alkali resistant Glass Fiber, water, admixture, plasticizer-polymer, pigments, and possible other aggregates such as marble chips or mirror glaze chips.

Typically three different concrete mix recipes are used in the casting process. These are the “face coat,” which is sprayed in to line the mold and does not contain fibers, the “vertical backing coat,” which is applied behind the face coat to the panel’s upright surfaces, and the “self-consolidating backing coat,” which fills in the rest.

Molding DIY applications: ornamental plaque, bookends, ramps, chimney caps, downspout splash guard, garden edging, curbing, countertops, sinks, tables, even furniture.

Architectural application:  As of the year 2000, fiber-cement makes up 7-10% of the North American siding market, with some projecting a 25% growth rate per year over the next few decades.  Other currently available commercial fiber-cement products include cladding (which can replicate brick or stucco, for example), architectural elements, shakes and shingles, backerboard and underlayment, and fascia and soffit panels, among others.

Fiber cement siding is a building material used to cover the exterior of a building in both commercial and domestic applications.  Fibre cement cladding is a very heavy product and requires two people to carry the uncut sheets. Thin fibre cement cladding is fragile before installation and must be handled carefully; it is prone to chipping and breakage if improperly handled.  Once the product is cut it may again require two people to install – one to hold the sheet flush against studwork and the other to nail the product in place.  The external cladding products require very little maintenance once installed and painted. The thicker/denser fiber cement products have excellent impact resistance but the thinner less dense products need to be protected from impact. Compared to wooden siding, fiber cement is not susceptible to termites or rot.