We find techniques where design, robotics and digital technology are combined, which design surprising architectural sculptures. An example of this is the Arum Sculpture by Zaha Hadid Architects for the Venice Biennale.
This project was carried out at Robofold’s headquarters in South London, together with its founder Gregory Epps and a group of designers, architects, computer scientists, engineers and artists where they developed a series of variables to control and calibrate their two ABB industrial robots from 6 axes at the same time. With the idea of programming to make ‘curved folds’ in metal sheets.
As a final tool, ABB robots are using a pair of suction cups attached to a pre-cut aluminum sheet. This type of technology made it possible to shape the metal without requiring molds.
How was the process and result of this project?
The transformation of the material generated a design is quite intuitive and combines both analysis and simulation and digital construction.
The system is used in conjunction with a plug-in, which can integrate the designs into Rhino 3D CAD through the coding software developed by Robofold. Then Convert the design to bending simulation in King Kong software. In turn, these results will be linked to the Godzilla robotics software to simulate the folding of the robot before the physical folding begins. Bending software can be purchased separately, but Robofold has also developed 3-axis CAM software, 6-axis CAM software, and other robot inputs to make full use of the hardware it processes. For the construction team, the personality of each programmed worksheet made up of programming robots on the construction site means that anything can be changed at the last minute and corrections can be made quickly and easily.
“Once you set the bend and crease though, you’ve added so much stiffness that you don’t need all that material; you can cut the amount of material you need in half.
Panel accuracy is defined by cutting the flat sheet, and since the process does not stretch the material like a standard press does, holes are pre-drilled and no cutting is required.
The acceleration of this process is slower than that of pressing, but it has the advantage of saving effort: it is a one-time process, and pressing can involve several times, and then a 5-inch laser cutting machine is used to drill and trim.
Mr. Epps explained: “In general, you would say that the template should be perfect, but in this case, the requirements for the template are not too strict. First, it is more important to cut it correctly.” “You can fold something on paper and do it; this is the end goal.”
Gregory Epps said, “If you want to tweak the design a bit, you don’t even have to reprogram the CAM software and the robot software; if i were to make a new mold it would be crazy, so this is super efficient. You can prototype out of production materials and then manufacture using the same equipment, so you know what you’ll get. ”
To date, the largest work created using this method is the work of Zaha Hadid Architects: the Arum sculpture at the Venice Biennale. The design is a 20 foot tall tulip-shaped freestanding structure, created based on Robofold’s input and fabrication services.
This combination of knowledge gives the possibility of expanding creativity by changing the way of seeing the techniques of architectural design and sculpture manufacturing