Digital modeling and fabrication
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Digital Modeling and Fabrication is a process that joins Design with the Construction / Production through the use of 3D modeling software and additive and subtractive manufacturing processes. These tools allow designers to produce digital materiality, which is something greater than an image on screen, and actually tests the accuracy of the software and computer lines.
Computer milling and fabrication integrate the computer assisted designs with that of the construction industry. In this process, the sequence of operations becomes the critical characteristic in procedure. Architects can propose complex surfaces, where the properties of materials should push the design.
Machines for fabrication
CNC stands for computer numerical control. Through a computer controller, G-codes are read which represent specific CNC functions in alphanumeric format. The g-codes drive a machine tool, a powered mechanical device typically used to fabricate components. CNC machines are classified according to the number of axes that they possess. CNC machines are specifically successful in milling materials such as plywood, foam board, and steel at a fast speed. CNC machine beds are typically large enough to allow 4' × 8' (123 cm x 246 cm) sheets of ¾" (19 mm) thick plywood to be cut.
The laser cutter is a machine that uses a laser to cut materials such as chip board, matte board, thin sheets of wood, and plexy up to 3/8" (1 cm) thickness. AutoCAD is used in the production of lines on a grid, which would be sent to the laser cutter as a .dwg file. Lines can either cut through the material or score it depending on the color of the line drawn. Lines drawn in white will be cut and lines in red will score the material in the cutting bed. Objects cut out of materials can be used in the fabrication of physical models, which will only require the piecing together of the parts.
3d printers use a variety of methods and technology to assemble physical versions of digital objects, usually by constructing a thin layer of an object at a time and then building another layer of the same object immediately on top of the prior one.
Fused deposition modeling, also known as fused filament fabrication, uses a 3-axis robotic system that extrudes material, typically a thermoplastic, one thin layer at a time and progressively builds up a shape. Examples of machines that use this method are the Dimension 768 and the Ultimaker.
Stereolithography uses a high intensity light projector, usually using DLP technology, with a photosensitive polymer resin. It will project the profile of an object to build a single layer, curing the resin into a solid shape. Then the printer will move the object out of the way by a small amount and project the profile of the next layer. Examples of devices that use this method are the Form-One printer and Os-RC Illios.
Selective laser sintering uses a laser to trace out the shape of an object in a bed of finely powdered material that can be fused together by application of heat from the laser. After one layer has been traced by a laser, the bed and partially finished part is moved out of the way, a thin layer of the powdered material is spread, and the process is repeated. Typical materials used are alumide, steel, glass, thermoplastics (especially nylon), and certain ceramics. Example devices include the Formiga P 110 and the Eos EosINT P730.
Powder printers work in a similar manner to SLS machines, and typically use powders that can be cured, hardened, or otherwise made solid by the application of a liquid binder that is delivered via an inkjet printhead. Common materials are plaster of paris, clay, powdered sugar, wood-filler bonding putty, and flour, which are typcially cured with water, alcohol, vinegar, or some combination thereof. The major advantage of powder and SLS machines is their ability to continuously support all parts of their objects throughout the printing process with unprinted powder. This permits the assembly of geometries not easily otherwise created. However, these printers are often more complex and expensive. Examples of printers using this method are the ZCorp Zprint 400 and 450.
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