Tailored Structures, Robotic Sewing of Wooden Shells
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This paper investigates the use of robotics with sensing mechanisms in combination with industrial sewing techniques to explore new strategies for the fabrication of thin wooden shells.
The investigation is characterized by a parallel theoretical and prototype-based methodology, the latter serving as a vehicle to further the technical development, which could ultimately enable novel architectural qualities.
The development unfolds in four interdependent avenues: (1) The transfer of textile patterning techniques used in garment production to inform the design of flexible 3 mm beech plywood segments; (2) The capacity of wood to be elastically bent and connected into geometrically stable structures; (3) the use of sewing as a new construction joint for thin material; and (4) The integration of sewing into an automated and adaptive robotic fabrication workflow enabled by sensing and scanning with the capacity to join complex three-dimensional curved structures at an architectural scale.
KeywordsWood Timber construction Robotic sewing Adaptive robotics Sensing Textile techniques
Demonstrator A was developed and constructed within the ITECH MSc programme by the first authors. Demonstrator B – 2017 was supported by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion project (GZ 1162) where the where the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (University of Stuttgart) and the Digital Design Research Center (Tongji University) act as co-principal investigators. Additionally, it was exhibited as part of the inaugural exhibition ‘Mind the digital’ at the Design Society Museum, Shenzhen, China.
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