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WORK YOUR BRICK


WORK YOUR BRICK TILE Test Tessellations Rapid Tessellation Preparation Production Work Your Brick

BRICK 03 - 04 05 - 12 13 - 14 15 - 18 19 - 20

Test Tessellations Modification Preparation Production Digital vs Physical Work Your Brick

25 - 26 27 - 32 33 - 34 35 - 44 45 - 48 49 - 50

PART 2 Modification Preparation Production Digital vs Physical Work Your Brick

51 - 56 57 - 58 59 - 64 65 - 68 69 - 72

DIGITAL CERAMICS

02


TEST TESSELLATION

The introductory stages of the course set out to understand how to create tessellating patterns by means of altering the edges of one of the three regular polygons (triangle, square, and hexagons). After a number of quick iterations, one shape was selected to begin experimenting with the tessellation in the Z direction. In this instance the geometry was only offset then raised and lowered, creating a relatively simple rippling affect for the pattern. However, this type of abstraction didn’t seem to lend to an overall pattern, but rather just confine each individual geometry to itself.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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RAPID TESSELLATION

Upon understanding the principle make up of a tessellating pattern by means of matching opposite edges around a four sided polygon a relatively simple grasshopper script was constructed. This allowed for rapid production of patters as well as real time visual conformation should the pattern start to create problem conditions, such as tight angles or overlap. Again, after a series of new iterations a shape was finalized in order to begin experimenting with turning the two dimensional shape into a three dimensional tessellating tile.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

06


RAPID TESSELLATION

With the desire to continue seeing rapid iterations in the tessellation, a secondary grasshopper script was created in order to introduce an additional layer of complexity to the pattern. In this case new curves where drawn in order to set up the paths for seams and voids within the patterning. The main purpose of this script was to insure that these addition curves would match up with the adjacent shape to create continuity throughout the tessellation.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

08


RAPID TESSELLATION

In order to create three dimensionality to this pattern the second grasshopper script was modified to control changes in the Z direction as well as build three dimensional surfaces. This helped streamline work flow in understanding how changes to surface of one tile would impact the overall pattern.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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DIGITAL CERAMICS

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TILE PREPARATION

Upon completion of the digital version of the tile using the various grasshopper scripts only a few addition steps are required before the tile can be readied for fabrication. First it is inverted to create the negative of the form. Next it is set in a digital block that matches that of the actual ceramic block (200x200x60mm). This digital representation can now be imported into CADCAM software at 1 to 1 scale and then machined by way of CNC router in order to create a ceramic mould.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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TILE PRODUCTION

With the completion of the machining of the ceramic block the tile is now ready to go into experimentations in production. First earthenware slip is poured into the mould and left to dry for approximately 10 minutes. This allows the slip to build up a wall along the edge of the mould that is approximately 4 mm thick. At this point the remaining liquid slip can be poured out. Because of some of the voids in the tile it was found that the drying time needed to be approximately one hour so that the slip could become strong enough to not be damaged when being released from the mould. Once the tile is out of the mould it is left to dry out until it’s hardness was similar to a soft leather. At this point the tile could start to be glazed.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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TILE PRODUCTION

The glazing process provides a whole experiment in itself. Multiple trials were tested by means of the number of coats of glaze per tile, layering different colors, as well as glazing the tile after it has been fired and then refiring it once more. Further experiments with glazing techniques continued through out the process.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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WORK YOUR BRICK

It was found that after firing many of tiles would not fit into place. This was determined to be caused by some of the thinner areas of the tile being shifted or bent while being fired. Even the smallest of movement could cause a tile not to be able to nest into the pattern. In order to help prevent this the tile could be offset to the inside by a larger degree, allowing more room for it to move when being nested. At this point in time the production of the tile was put on hold so that the second part of course could begin; creating a tessellation that could be patterned in three dimensions. Or in other words, creating a tessellating brick.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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DIGITAL CERAMICS

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WORK YOUR BRICK


TEST TESSELLATION

The second experiment in digital ceramics involved creating a ‘brick’ that would tessellate in three dimensions. The experiments began with many of the lessons learned from creating the tessellating tile. In this instance a tessellating shape was created and tiled in one plan. This same shape is then rotated into the perpendicular plan, inverted and tiled. Each shape is then split directly in half so that one curve of the first shape can be lofted to the curve directly perpendicular to it. Once all the curves are lofted together it creates a three dimensional object not too dissimilar to the form of a vase.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

26


BRICK MODIFICATION

The form created allowed the brick to tessellate in two dimensions (like that in the line drawing), however the addition of the third dimension caused overlap at certain points. In order to solve this problem a few solutions were proposed. The first would be to design the overlap into the brick. This could involve removing the overlap at some point in the fabrication process but would most likely add a great deal to production time. Another option would be to scale the brick in such a manner so that there was no overlap. This solution would distort the preferred rounded shape. Lastly, a method of minimizing the extreme points on the original curves was used in order to render a shape that retained it’s rounded form while having no overlap.


PATTERNING

After a final form was reached a series of experiments began in order to create a type of patterning or ornament on the brick. These experiments were in the interest of testing the limits of the machining process and realize the change in resolution from digital, to mould, to cast and lastly kiln fired object. In order to best achieve a type of patterning over the course of the brick the surface was imported into the 3D Studio Max. This program allowed for more ease of overall surface manipulation. After a series of formal experiments 5 bricks were finalized for possible fabrication (see page 24). After peer review and consultation with the fabrication lab, the 5 were then reduced to two bricks to move into production.

DIGITAL CERAMICS

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ORGANIC BRICK

The process of patterning for this brick was achieved by exporting the form with a relatively high mesh count to retain smoothness of the form. The faces were then offset and inset into the surface. Lastly the form was smoothed to avoid sharp edges and create consistency throughout the brick.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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FACETED BRICK

The process of patterning for this brick was largely to run counter to that of the Organic Brick. The surface was exported at a much lower mesh count which caused the form to deform just slightly. The arrangement of faces was then rebuilt so it created a diamond pattern on the surface. Rather then apply a surface manipulation to the entire form, this brick was sculpted by selecting individual faces and pulling them into or away from the surface.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

32


BRICK PREPARATION

The bricks are then readied for fabrication in much the same way the tile was prepared. Both are inverted and then positioned within the constraints of a block measuring 200x200x60cm. Because this is a two part mold a second block is needed. This is done by creating the mirrored version of the first block. In order to ensure the blocks align properly four holes are placed in the corners in which wooden dowels will later be fitted.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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BRICK PRODUCTION

After the mould is fabricated using the CNC machine the first set of bricks is ready to begin production. First, four wooden dowels are placed in the holes at the corners of one of the ceramic moulds so that the second mould is precisely aligned with the other. The moulds are then fastened together using ratcheting tie downs in order to insure they stay firmly together as well as keep any liquid slip from escaping the machined area.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

36


BRICK PRODUCTION

While much of the process in preparing and fabricating was similar to the process used with the tessellating tile, the process of casting the brick proved to be much different. With the tile one could see when the sides of the slip were starting to harden. It was then much easier to tell when to pour out the slip and when the tile could be removed from the mould. With the bricks it was much more a trial and error process in determining how long the slip needed to be in the mould. Allowing the slip to sit too long would make the walls of the brick too heavy. While conversely if the slip is poured out too quickly the walls don’t have enough structure to support itself and thus also collapse. It was found the time to leave the slip in the mould was approximately two minutes.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

38


BRICK PRODUCTION

Once the technique for casting the bricks was honed the glazing experiments could be resumed.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

40


BRICK PRODUCTION

After firing the Organic Brick’s overall surface quality rendered rather well. Only a few areas appeared to have small imperfections which could be traced back to small damages in the ceramic mould. The affect of allowing some of the glaze pool in the inset helped highlight the pattern by making those areas appear darker. However it will be important not to allow too much glaze to collect in this area otherwise the patterning could become lost.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

42


BRICK PRODUCTION

The Faceted Brick looked to have very few errors on its surface. This was most likely because the scale of the patterning was larger allowing for more ease in CNC milling. Glazing was also faster because there wasn’t as many areas for the glaze to pool, this allowed for the overall coat of glaze remain consistent.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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DIGITAL VS PHYSICAL

In comparing the final fired bricks to that of the original computer model the results were better than first expected.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

46


DIGITAL VS PHYSICAL

The machining picked up most of the geometry and only the areas on the sides did it appear that information was lost or distorted. This is the area that would produce the most undercutting in which the machine would not register any geometry that was below another surface.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

48


WORK YOUR BRICK

The stacking of the bricks proved to be mostly successful. The form of the organic brick fit. While the faceted brick could still be stacked, the fit wasn’t as tight as that of the organic brick. This was due to the surface manipulation in 3D Studio Max. These manipulations were enough to throw off the overall tessellation of the brick and thus the overall stacking. It was found that one of the key features for stacking the bricks is a small divot in the top center of the form. This detail allows for bricks above to nest into their proper place in order for the pattern to continue.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

50


BRICK MODIFICATION

After the first result of bricks yielded a technique and understanding for creating a form that could tessellate in three dimensions two more iterations were created in order to continue in the testing ornamental techniques as well as test the resolution of the CNC machine. After learning that any actual deforming of the surface would disrupt tessellation the patterning was only focused on the surface. The patterning was also pushed to create more ornamental based patterns rather than just geometry.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

52


ORNAMENTAL BRICK

This brick was created by using the curves from a ornamental drawing and projecting them on the surface of the brick. This area could then be isolated from the rest of the surface and extruded into the brick. Other small surface manipulations were also created to continue to see how they would register with the CNC machine.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

54


FLORAL BRICK

This brick was created by projecting a floral type pattern on the surface of the brick. The patterning was strategically projected so that one of the largest portions would fall on an area of the form in which other bricks would need to sit in order to be stacked. Because of this the manipulating of the floral pattern was left untouched and the rest of the surface was manipulated in a way that would give the appearance of giving the brick scales.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

56


BRICK PREPARATION

The same fabrication technique from the first block is repeated in order to yield two new ceramic moulds.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

58


BRICK PRODUCTION

Upon inspection of the ceramic block after milling it appeared that the final outcome was not as detailed as the first brick block. Much of extruded curves on the ornamental brick appeared to be chipped and a few had broken off. The thinness of these curves was probably just too small and the ceramic just to brittle to retain a smoother cut. For the Floral Brick many of the scales seemed to get lost. This was most likely because many of the scales were just too small for the bit to cut properly. The same process of pouring the slip into the mould was retained from the production of the first series of bricks.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

60


BRICK PRODUCTION

As suspected, the chipping of many of the extruded curves in the ceramic mould would have a negative affect on the overall output of the brick. Here the brick does not retain the quality of sharpness as seen in the previous version. In production of glazing it was discovered that the glaze needed to be applied in thin layers and with more care. Otherwise, the glaze would dam up in the areas with ornament creating a much undesirable finished object.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

62


BRICK PRODUCTION

Despite the mould appearing to lose many of the small scales once the Floral brick was cast many of these small scales did actually register within the earthenware. Once more it was found that thinner coats of glaze were needed so as not to collect in the tight spaces between the scales.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

64


DIGITAL VS PHYSICAL

Besides the lack of sharpness in the extruded curves and it’s affects on the actual brick most of the patterning seen on the digital representation appears to have been picked up. Once more the side of the brick causing the most abstraction. Here much of the detailing was actually picked up by the mill only slightly stretched where the machine could not create undercuts.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

66


DIGITAL VS PHYSICAL

In comparing the The area of most loss of detail was again on the sides. However when compared to that of the sides of the Ornamental Brick it seemed that a significant amount of detail was lost. Many of the scales appear to be large enough to register with the mill and the line where this information is lost is quite clear. The reason why so much of this information was lost is still to be determined.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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WORK YOUR BRICK

With enough bricks finally fired stacking arrangements could begin to be formed. All the brick patterns, outside of the Facaded Brick, tiled and stacked with relative ease and rigidity. The only areas where the stacking became slightly disrupted were where an individual brick might be significantly larger or smaller then median size due to either the thickness of the earthenware or the temperature of the kiln when being fired.


DIGITAL CERAMICS

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DIGITAL CERAMICS

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Work Your Brick  

Study in digital ceramics.

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