Each week, I share some of the books and other resources I have found profoundly inspiring in my investigation into 3D design for 3D printing. The full list lives here on the pinboard “3D Design to 3D Print Inspirations” and each #3DThursday I share about those that I most highly recommend.
By Lisa Iwamoto
Initially, I must admit to having located this book largely because SEO lead me there — I was hunting for resources on 3D printed digital fabrication techniques and this book, quite popular, popped up.
While there are indeed fascinating projects involved 3D printing in here — from back a few years ago, relying on industrial machines and rather cost-ineffective strategies compared to what might be attempted now — this book is more about the fabrication strategies architects like Iwamoto herself explore for executing non-traditional digital designs. While the budgets are higher and the concepts more abstract than the typical maker project, I feel that makers would find much to admire about these stories of the often counter-intuitive steps necessary to produce some of the wild paneling and structural effects shared here.
In fact, I’d argue that there are elements to these techniques — while focused on large-scale CNC, molding runs, vacuum forming, and other fabrication methods suited for building-scale — that are sorta the in-macro-scale version of small design-for-additive-manufacturing challenges for desktop 3D printed objects. Chapters include: “Sectioning,” “Tesellating,” “Folding,” “Contouring,” and “Forming.”
And crucial to acknowledge are the steps that automated machines can tackle, and those (typically the crucial final stages) that are tuned-by-human. As Johngineer mentioned as he walked past a moment ago: “remember that all of the tiles on the Shuttle, while cut on a machine, were polished and positioned by a person.”
Here’s a sample chapter.
From the publisher’s listing for the book:
Architectural pioneers such as Frank Gehry and Greg Lynn introduced the world to the extreme forms made possible by digital fabrication. It is now possible to transfer designs made on a computer to computer-controlled machinery that creates actual building components. This “file to factory” process not only enables architects to realize projects featuring complex or double-curved geometries, but also liberates architects from a dependence on off-the-shelf building components, enabling projects of previously unimaginable complexity.
Digital Fabrications, the second volume in our new Architecture Briefs series, celebrates the design ingenuity made possible by digital fabrication techniques. Author Lisa Iwamoto explores the methods architects use to calibrate digital designs with physical forms. The book is organized according to five types of digital fabrication techniques: tessellating, sectioning, folding, contouring, and forming. Projects are shown both in their finished forms and in working drawings, templates, and prototypes, allowing the reader to watch the process of each fantastic construction unfold. Digital Fabrications presents projects designed and built by emerging practices that pioneer techniques and experiment with fabrication processes on a small scale with a do-it-yourself attitude. Featured architects include AEDS/Ammar Eloueini, Atelier Manferdini, Brennan Buck, MOS, Office dA, Florencia Pita/MOD, Mafoomby, URBAN A+O, SYSTEMarchitects, Andrew Kudless/Matsys, IwamotoScott, Atelier Hitoshi Abe, Chris Bosse, Tom Wiscombe/EMERGENT, Thom Faulders Architecture, Jeremy Ficca, SPAN, GNUFORM, Heather Roberge, PATTERNS, Ruy Klein, and servo.