Page 1

in·FORM·ed clay Robotic 3DPrinting Workshop


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

Index introduction Tools The process Conclusion


NOTE : You can disseminate the publication contents under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) license.


inFORMed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop Time : 10-12 November 2017, 9:30 am to 6:00 pm Place : Originbase, Alqouz 3, Almeydan St. City : Dubai, UAE


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

Introduction The development of digital fabrication techniques enabled new possibilities for the exploration and integration of material properties within the design and fabrication logic. The notion of robotic fabrication and digital material articulation is expanding to define new typologies of forms made possible with digital technology.

inFORMed Clay Workshop explored new possibilities of the robots and digital materialization to redefine artifacts design far beyond the pre-determined creation of forms. It also sought to question the process and its implication on future possibilities of fullscale design. The aim was to go beyond the current state of prototyping, wherein the physical prototype is a close clone to its digital counterpart, thus making fabrication a purely replication phase. Instead, by coding and embedding additional levels of information aimed at mapping and defining material features and behaviours as well as different deployment patterns, new physical and aesthetic properties emerge, making the production and digital fabrication phase an integral part of the design process.



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

tools 1. Software: Rhino3D + Grasshopper 2. Robot: COMAU Racer 3 3. Custom made extruder with 5mm dia nozzle 4. Air compressor 5. Clay: Stoneware, Custom mix

2. Robot: COMAU Racer 3


A custom made extruder has been designed to be attached to the robotic arm. It has a 5mm diameter nozzle on one end, and connected to a compressed-air tube on the other. The compressed-air tube pushes 2-3 bar air pressure that

force the clay down through the nozzle. Varying the air pressure will change the speed by which the clay gets released from the nozzle. A stoneware clay has been used to fill in the extruder. First the clay, from a local supplier, was prepared

by mixing it with very little water, then kneading it to get a homogeneous mixed material, and to extract any possible air bubbles from the clay. After that the extruder gets filled with the clay, and then fixed into the robotic arm.

Brain + Knowledge + Ideas

1. Software: Rhino3D + Grasshopper

5. Clay: Stoneware, Custom mix

3. Custom made extruder with 5mm dia nozzle

4. Air Compressor

in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop


Robot: COMAU Racer 3 The robot moves in space through the use of the six (6) axes.

Connected to Air Compressor.

Custom made extruder + 5 mm diameter nozzle.

The two (2) main coordinate systems are the BASE (b) and the TOOL (t). Body of the robot.

yt zt


Prototype sizes has been optimized to limit the printing time to approximately Âą 20 minutes for each design.

zb yb



Before actual 3D printing, each design was tested through a computer simulation.

Base for the robot. Base for the 3D print.


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

Clay: Stoneware from local supplier, preparation stage



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

the Process The 3-day workshop explored code - matter - machine interaction process to create a variety of full scale clay artifacts using robotic 3d printing technology. It started by generating relatively simple grasshopper definitions to create different geometries.

The process started by using a periodic curve, then manipulating it using curve subdivisions, curvature values, data lists, then applying transformational processes such as moving, scaling, rotating, etc. Variations among the vertical layers were introduced using graph mapper component that determined the overall behavior of the


sectional curves, which were then lofted to create the final geometry in Grasshopper.    The next step was to internalize the sectional curves within the Grasshopper Curve component. This component was copied to another definition that converted the data into points

that represent trajectories of the robotic arm movement. By setting up the maximum robotic arm speed on that definition, the definition generates a pdI file, ready to be exported for the robot execution. Each participant developed his / her own grasshopper definition

of a particular geometry, starting with a periodic curve, then created a system to manipulate it to create the final form. The form got exported as sectional curves to the robotic definition that generated the pdI printing file. Each file took about 20 minutes to print, with a size that is up to 12cm high. 

in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop


Line Drawing / Design + Simulation of Layer Thickness Top view



Comparison of a design as seen on computer and its 3D printed counterpart.

design by Sara Islam



Ld/3 Ld/2


Ld/2 Ld/3

Top view

design by Marta Krivosheek

in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop


Line Drawing / Design + Simulation of Layer Thickness Top view



Comparison of a design as seen on computer and its 3D printed counterpart.

design by Marwah Osama


Top view


design by Ibrahim Ibrahim


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop

Conclusion Using relatively simple grasshopper scripts to design few geometries, participants studied the potential emergent behaviors of the system as well as learnt and exerted a new sensibility to the computational design / fabrication process. They examined the final outcome and how it varies from the geometry that is displayed on the screen. They examined the role of the self-organization properties of matter as a key factor in determining characteristics of the output artifacts. 

Contrary to the traditional role of digital fabrication wherein the output is very much a materialized copy of the digital file, this process allowed material properties to interact with the robotic code. This interaction often causes the geometry to display certain behaviors that were neither designed nor coded by the designer, but simply emerged out of the negotiation between the different parameters such as material properties, robotic arm speed , layers thickness, clay moisture, air pressure, and so on. Such emergent effects are often beyond designer’s control. For that, it is fair to conclude that this behavior-based process departs from the traditional path as it takes the level of control of the final outcome away from the designer, while allowing for the negotiation of other parameters to determine the final output. These parameters influence the self-organizing properties of the clay which will determine its behavior in shaping the final artifacts. 


In the last day of the workshop, 33 pieces have been produced by 19 participants, each represents a prototype of particular set of data and conditions that determined its final form.


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop




All Participants Ali Ghias Ahmed Lina Ahmed Ibrahim Ibrahim Sara Islam Noor Khudher Marta Krivosheek

Agata Kurzela Rashed AlMansoori Israa Mohammed Nehal Al Murbati Shameel Muhammed Nada Al Mulla

Priyanka Narula Marwa Osama Kasi Raju Rasha Saffarini Dana Sharif Andrew Shaw Abdul Warith Zaki

Tutors Andrea Graziano - Co-de-iT, Member & Co-founder Zayad Motlib - d-NAT, Member & Founder

The workshop “material” is part of the Co-de-iT inFORMed Matter Research developed at digifabTURINg lab during the AARM project. More material could be found at : - [ free PDF publication ] - [ 15 mins youtube video ] Report prepared in collaboration with Zayad Motlib, Marta Krivosheek & Andrea Graziano. Edited by Zayad Motlib Graphics by Marta Krivosheek


in.FORM.ed Clay _ Robotic 3D Printing Workshop



Andrea Graziano is an architect and computational designer, member and co-founder of Co-deiT - Computational Design Italy, currently engaged in teaching international workshops about computational design, digital tools and robotic fabrication in architectural design, lecturing and consultancy work. Andrea is member and cofounder of digifabTURINg, a research cluster focused on digital fabrication, computation, robotics and material research applied in

Zayad Motlib is an interdisciplinary architect, a designer, and a researcher on information - based digital design and material systems. He worked in internationally renowned practices in New Zealand, Australia, and the Middle East on a variety of award-winning projects. In 2014, he founded AmorphouStudio, a visionary architecture and design studio based in Dubai and Sydney. Parallel to his professional practice, he has taught and

the field of architecture, design & art. Andrea acts as an active catalyst through his intense activity of social networking of the paradigm-shift in the fields of architectural research, computation and science. A ‘digital explorer’ and ‘knowmad’ aiming to research, curate and envision the rapid evolution of science, technology, art and philosophy, their possible convergence and tooling into design and architecture.

served as a guest critic at several universities in Sydney, New Zealand, and across the UAE. In addition to his international professional and academic work, he has also been a curator of several art and architectural exhibitions. In 2013, he founded d-NAT (Dubai Network for Art, Architecture, and Technology), a research based network set as a hub for the creative minds to connect and to form a productive milieu that bridges the boundaries of Design, Nature, and Technology.

Profile for U-NAT

inFORMed Clay _ Robotic 3D printing Workshop