Gizmo design – hyPERFORM

I would like to introduce myself to this blog and to the fellow readers of make-lab. My name is Pandush Gaqi and I am a senior at Lawrence Technological University.  I’m taking the Special Topics: Digital Fabrication class with many of my former studio classmates.  hyPERFORM is one of the design groups in my class, made up of my colleagues Ben Burr, Brent Dekryger, and Natalie Haddad.  I have been following their project closely and will continue to do so during the course of this semester.  The first design project of the class was to construct a “Gizmo” that would test the limits of the machine fabricating it with relation to the software running that machine. Also, the design aspect of such object would be influenced by the circumstances created by the Z-Corp 3d printer/prototyper found in our lab.

Some of the preliminary sketches and 3d computer models, shown here,  give a glimpse of the density  iterations that had to be made to the design of the Gizmo before prototyping. Such iterations were necessary in the design, as the assumption for such changes was for creating an object that would not fail during fabrication. Double curved surfaces, coupled with changes in porosity, pushed the structural integrity of the Gizmo to the limits while also testing the limitations in material thicknesses. The 3d printed Gizmo was derived from tessellation of polygon segments while the changes in density were a result of surface curvature; the fewer the polygons the smaller the curvature.

The process is very interesting as many of us with some experience in 3d prototyping, have more time and freedom to experiment  with formal design, and using such machines as tools for analysis, instead of design representation. Ben modeled the Gizmo in 3DS MAX Design and while that proved useful for the first assignment, the group has decided to move forward with a different design to test the 3-axis CNC machine. They are  using Grasshopper3d to generate the form, while using RhinoCAM for the fabrication process.

Looking at their next step, the challenges fall in the realm of process management and design-machine adaptability. The CNC-machine requires much more attention to detail in design, as the machine has more limitations than the 3d printer. Such limitations will inform the design at a higher rate than the previous model. Good luck to them, I’ll keep the blog updated with their progress.

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