Defab: Designing for Deconstruction

Student: Ged Finch

Partner: New Zealand Institute of Building's Charitable Trust

Start Date: 05 March 2017

End Date: 05 April 2018

Duration: 1 year

Responding to the unprecedented levels of waste production in the building industry this board spectrum research unpacked a range of architectural strategies that work to reduce this waste stream. The resulting design proposal is a modular architectural construction system with integrated reversible jointing configurations, redundant capacity for expansion and details that enable the effective separation of discrete building layers. This proposed assembly specification calls for the mass-standardisation of structural components to promote economically viable material retrieval and resale at the end of a buildings useful life. The research exploited the fabrication potential of CNC routing as a affordable and widely available computer-aided fabrication technology.

Robotic Freeform 3D Printing: Summer Edition

Student: Louise Wotton

Partner: Aurecon

Start Date: 20 November 2017

End Date: 23 February 2018

Duration: 3 months


This research aimed to build upon the work in the Robotic Freeform 3D Printing project by taking a more formal approach to the structure, and begin to reimagine how the robotic arm could be programmed to print more freeform structures and steer away from an orthogonal grid. This research would then begin to inform the yearlong project ‘Developing structural algorithms from biomimicry principles for 3d freeform printing’.

The eleven week project focussed on programming and printing small scale structures, with time taken focussing on the scripting of each shape. The 3d extruder prints in one continuous line, resulting in a digital model that must print a shape fully without crossing over paths and a model printed top to bottom. The output from this project was a base body of work, focussing on shape optimisation and scripting, as well as optimising the workflow by highlighting the optimal temperature, extrude rate and speed for the printed to move at.

Robotic Freeform 3D Printing

Student: Armano Papageorge

Partner: VUW School of Design

Start Date: 08 March 2017

End Date: 05 March 2018

Duration: 1 year

3d printing, robots, digital fabrication

This research will demonstrate the potential of freeform 3D printing as a sustainable and efficient alternative building method. It outlines contemporary digital design techniques including computation and simulation tools as a means to define and test this proposed building method including structural optimisation tools to create the most structurally efficient form from additive manufacturing. The computational methods described are then paired with a manufacturing process that includes a 6-axis robotic arm. The final result is a building methodology that supports a computational workflow from design conception to manufacture.

Incremental Sheet Forming

Student: Jordan Cormack, Thomas LeCompte, Sam Saunders, Cameron Smith

Partner: N/A

Start Date: 06 March 2016

End Date: 01 March 2017

Duration: 1 year

ISF, Robot, Digital Fabrication, Parametric Design

Incremental Sheet Forming was a group project exploring the digital workflow between digital fabrication or manufacturing and parametric design. The project utilised mass customization principles to demonstrate that coupled with parametric software, it is possible to produce bespoke pieces quickly and simply. The result of the research was varied as students were encouraged to produce an independent thesis along with the group project. The first half of the research was a collective project that eventually was split into individual research theses.