The objective of this project is to create a screen of modular pieces that weaved in and out of each other that could be variable based on the width of the connection pieces and the manner in which it was connected to allow more or less light through as required. The modular pieces themselves would be fused of connected in such a way that it would give the illusion that it was cast as one singular piece increasing the complexity and disguising the actual process of fabrication.
Performance Based Design
This design is related to performance based design in that this skin or screen could be used in conjunction with Ecotect to create to manipulate the amount of light being allowed into a building’s façade. The placement of certain components in areas of greater heat accumulation and other components in areas of lesser heat accumulation can be worked out using image mapping parametrics from Maya to balance the heat gain within the space and create a comfortable environment.]
Data Input and Driver
The initial data input for this process is first the development of a form that can change based on the Evaluation process which gives the form a performative quality. This was done through the use of Maya to create a simple yet easily manipulated form that allowed the general weaving aesthetic but also the input of variation of certain variables to increase or decrease the surface area the form occupied.
The second data input was the evaluation of the environment for which the form would be adapted algorithmically to control solar gain. This was done using an Ecotect image derived from a digital model of the space. The resulting data was represented graphically as a gradient of color which represented a range of either high or low heat gain. This data was then input into Maya to reconfigure individually assigned components that related to the amount of heat gain needed to be reduced, algorithmically with the data from the Ecotect model.
The final data input was then reducing the more complex initial model to a more easily manageable and smaller number of standardized kit of parts to be manufactured and molded. This then required taking the 2 chosen standardized pieces and using the data/model of these pieces to create negative space of the mold that would be CNC milled and later form the actual formwork in which the screen’s components would be cast.
There were some constraints in dealing with making the mold. Due to the fact that the mold was being made through the fabrication process of CNC milling there was an issue by which the tools creating milling the mold, being round, would be unable to cut some of the square corners on the negative molds. This required a reworking of the molds so that all edges were filleted and this round. Once this was done the milling process could take place.
Due to a negligible margin of error of the actual digital model and a the margin of error existing in machining, such that the actual milling material’s ability to create a surface as smooth as that intended by the digital model is impossible, an offset of -0.001 also had to be set to each mold to ensure the pieces would fit together. Despite this however the pieces still do not fit perfectly and will have to be sanded down by hand.
As a result of the late fabrication of the mold we are yet to produce the actual artifact to create the actual screen. Based on the difficulties so far incurred there is no doubt that we will encounter many more issues when the mold is eventually made. Our hope is to document these procedures and add to this document so that we can eventually improve our skill and methods of mold making and casting in order to continue to explore the possibilities of parametric design through this medium of fabrication. If possible perhaps we can also adapt and mix other modes of fabrication with this one and asses the advantages and disadvantages of each process. It is clear that this is just the beginning and that a final conclusion to this project is yet to come.