Page 1

Plastic Architecture Arquitectura Plastica


Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia Master in Advanced Architecture Research Studio Digital Tectonics Director: Marta Male-Alemany Coordinator : Jordi Portell / Miquel Lloveras / Guillem Camprodon, October 2011 / June 2012

Pet Flake Members

Pavlos Bakagiannis / Akram Ahmed

Christiana Vlanti / Theodor Grousopoulos

Digital Tectonics Architecture and technology have always been interlinked. The connection between both disciplines has affected their development throughout the years, with a constant challenging and redefining of the creational constraints. Perhaps now more than ever the technological breakthroughs and the advances in digital media and rapid manufacturing have changed immensely the way we conceive and materialize architecture as they revolutionized what is considered spatially and materially feasible. Along with the advent of digital means there is a new problematic in how matter is used and manipulated. Contrary to a human-driven design that is not engaging matter in its raw form, architects can create complex geometries by exploiting the technical and spatial potentialities of the material pushing the design. The properties and inherit laws that define matter can be embedded in a dynamic architectural process as a mode to achieve optimization. The purpose of Digital Tectonics is to investigate the connection between rapid manufacturing technology and a generative, material-driven design, releasing the tension between how things are designed to work and how they work in fact. By confronting the rigid traditional prefabricated methods of architectural production the Studio aims to develop innovative fabrication processes using smart materials, embodying economy of means, feasibility and sustainability. In a logic of on-site deployment of fabrication, innovative architectural production processes enable building in remote locations that have little infrastructure or are even completely disconnected from technology. This novel approach to architecture links it with the matter of global environmental, economic and social balance leveling. Architecture should be responsive to emergent needs and additionally to the incorporation of intelligent manufacturing methods be able to provide adaptable and cost-effective architectural units.

Contents 07

Plastic Waste as a Global Issue / 09 / 10 / 12 / 14 / 16


Material Research / 21 / 24 / 27 / 28 / 27 / 29 / 31


The Tube Experiment Plastic Extruder 1.0 Tubular Prototypes Tube Anatomy Developing the Structure Algorithm Geometrical Redefinition

Scale Down / Scale Up / 52 / 58 / 64 / 66 / 70 / 74 / 78 / 80


Analogue Experiments / Direct Heat Machine Prototype 1.0 Generating the Code / Hacking the Shopbot Numeric Control Material Particles In Direct Heat / Back to the Future Falses and Failures

230 - 240 Degrees / 34 / 36 / 40 / 42 / 44 / 48


Hazards of Plastics Pacific Garbage Path Project Thesis Process of transormation into Pet Flakes References

Machining Prototyping 3 mm Following the Trajectory 4 and 1/2 Axis Rotation Axial Deformations Simulating the Structural Behaviour Artificial Vision Scale Up

Thread Architecture / 86 Space Feeling Cures / 92 Kuka Robotic System / 99 Choreography / 113 Parasity Rain Distributor / 114 ‘‘Pet Flakes II’’ / 123 Acqua Alta / Venice 2120


This Nozzle in History


The problem of plastic waste is a matter of universal concern. The growth of global population, the developmental activities, vast changes in lifestyle, the current social and economic conditions in combination with inadequate levels of recycling are constantly raising the amount of waste. Most of what we consume, eat, drink and use is found packaged in petroleum plastic- a material designed to last forever, yet ironically used for products that we afterwards get rid of. Just before plastic became a substantial part of the everyday life, products were packaged in recyclable materials from glass, metal or paper that were built to last and be reused.

Plastic Waste as a Global Issue Today, the landfills and natural spaces are occupied by plastic packaging and disposable products that had a very short use lifecycle until their throwaway. This habit of using and tossing reveals even more disturbing facts. Objects of everyday use –beverage and water bottles, cups, toys, electronic parts- are scarcely recycled in a so-called closed loop. So far, only 5% of the produced plastics are recovered. More significantly, 50% is buried in landfills, some is used for producing durable products and much of it remains mislaid somewhere in the environment before eventually being washed out in the sea. Plastic is the fastest-growing component of litter masses and the most common pollutant in coastal and marine environments. Due to the fact that it practically never biodegrades, once littered it becomes automatically a permanent ecological problem. Concurrently, while the annual worldwide production of plastic is expected to have reached, in a period of a decade, 100 million tons, plastic waste is a major loss of a significant commodity.


the marine food web.

pollutes marine ecosystems and is mingled in

around the world. It blocks out waterways,

is a spreading plague for the environment all

The contamination caused from plastic litter

Hazards of Plastics

[ ]


extremely concentrated and thus there is a high chance of entering our bodies through seafood

22% of marine mammals, all sea turtles

A percentage of 44% of the seabird species,

transport of invasive species.

by being ingested and by disrupting the

ants in three ways: by causing entanglement,

The oceanic plastic waste affects its inhabit-

a malignant disease for the oceans.

through the watersheds, making plastic waste

organic pollutants (POPs) that were washed

stances, chlorinated hydrocarbons and other

afloat contaminants such pesticides sub-

continuously absorbing in high concentrations

the particles circulate through the oceans, are

particles without never totally disappearing. As

tion, being divided into smaller and smaller

are disintegrated by sunlight and wave ac-

others float on the surface. The floating parts

environment some types of plastic sink while

then flash it out into the ocean. In the marine

away. Storm drains and watersheds will

out of trash containers or is carelessly thrown

[ www pcipetpackaging co uk ]

the tissues and blood of the animals that consumed them. As they climb up the food chain, they become

chain through plastic waste. The pollutants that are absorbed from the plastic particles might have gotten into

concern for societies the potential impacts in human health from toxic chemicals that intrude in the food

is affected, then it will as well affect creatures that are higher in the food chain. For this reason, is of deep

capability of breeding and trigger serious diseases. However, if one group of organisms, like phytoplankton,

not normally found in the oceanic environment and are already known to harmfully affect marine species’

The impact of plastic pollutants is not yet fully defined. The chemical substances which form the plastics are

2.5 Million Plastic Bottles / Hour [U.S.]

Plastic Worldwide 5.1 billion Tons

falls from garbage and garbage trucks, spills

The plastic waste we generate on land either

pollution accelerating the whole process.

synthetic and non-biodegradable material

and biodiversity, with the increase in

destructive effect on indigenous species

tion of non-endemic species can have a

a number of organisms. This introduc-

an attractive and alternative habitat for

surfaces of plastic remains are providing

transportation of alien species. The hard

sion and has resulted in an increase in

important rise in certain species inva-

from particular plastics has caused an

The increase in marine litter contamination

nets every year.

130.000 species are caught in garbage

tanglement while official reports reveal that

sea lions have been discovered with en-

entangled in plastic, 7.9% of seals and

Over 250 species have been found

blockages and consequently death.

animals including starvation, dehydration,

this has severe ramifications to marine

most probably being mistaken for food,

body. When plastic trash is consumed,

fish have been detected with plastic their

species and an increasing number of

Pacific Garbage Path The oceans are dynamic systems and consist of one complex network of currents responsible for worldwide water circulation. These large systems of currents, combined with wind forces and the earth’s rotation, create “gyres”, massive whirlpools that rotate slowly, in which plastic litter is trapped and accumulated. There are 5 major oceanic gyres around the world and several secondary near Alaska and Antarctica. About 80% of the trash remains found in the gyres is coming from land and includes plastic carrier bags, beverage bottles and several consumer products. Free-floating fishing nets cause 10% of marine litter. The rest is tossed from recreational boats, oil platforms, cargo ships that drop each year approximately 10,000 shipping containers into the ocean containing everything from footballs to hockey gloves and Lego bricks. Nevertheless, despite their diversity in content-as there has plenty of metal, glass and rubber components- the greatest amount of the material is plastic, since everything else either sinks or eventually biodegrades before it ends up in the gyres. The plastic trash remains there for decades or more, pushed in a slow pace, following a clockwise spiral path towards the center driven by underwater currents. The North Pacific Gyre, however, is the most heavily researched for plastic contamination due to the extent of the problem. This twirling “soup” of garbage is actually two linked areas in the sides of the Hawaii islands, alternatively called Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. The Pacific Gyre occupies an area of approximately two times wider than the size of United States, reaching a depth of over 10 meters, but as a fluid system it fluctuates in size and shape. Curtis Ebbedmeyer, an oceanographer and leading authority on flotsam, has tracked this garbage vortex and compares it to a living entity. “It moves around like a big animal without a leash. When that animal comes close to land, as it does at the Hawaiian archipelago, the results are dramatic. The garbage patch barfs, and you get a beach covered with a confetti of plastic”.

Plastic Pieces 39% larger than 1 millimeter 35% 1 millimeter wide 17% 0.5 millimeter wide 10% 0.3 millimeters wide


Location The Garbage patch is located in the North Pacific Cyre, one of the five major swirling vortices of currents in the world’s ocean

[ illustration by Jacob Magraw-Mickelson ] Pacific Garbage Path 11

Project Thesis

Emergent ecological problems require a different approach as far as the architectural practice is concerned. Due to the current hazardous state of ecological imbalance, architecture owes to be both responsive and responsible. We need to move further than vague design. Creation is the essence of the profession but has to embrace a different, sustainable mentality. As architecture cannot be seen independently from its environment-and especially today more than any time in the past-the design, the material and the actual architectural process must comply with and adapt to the occurred environmental needs. Triggered by the global issue of plastic waste and its consequences, the project seeks to contribute to the literal purge of the problem. Instead of using an aggregate raw material, it exploits the potential of a material coming immediately from post-consumer waste, approaching through an innovative manner. Thus, plastics coming straight from garbage are used in order to explore the relation between matter, design and technology. Plastics are complex organic polymers of high molecular mass. There can be found in a wide range of synthetic and semi-synthetic solids which are moldable, extrudable and can be casted into various shapes and be drawn as filaments. They are mostly produced from petrochemicals and contain other organic or inorganic compounds. Plastics are usually classified by their chemical structure and can be divided into two categories: thermosets and thermoplastics. The majority of components in plastic litter are thermoplastics. Significantly, thermoplastics constitute 80% while thermosets constitute approximately 20% of total post-consumer plastics waste generated. Unlike thermosets, they are recyclable and can be melted and remolded when heated. The list of thermoplastics that are used for recyclable plastic products include: Polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE), High-density polyethylene (HDPE), Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or V), Low-density polyethylene (LDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS) and plastics that are a multilayer combination of different plastics.

Thermoplastics also belong to the category phase

production methods using PET by setting up digital

changing materials. A phase-changing material

work flows that are constantly fed with data by the

(PCM) is a substance with a high heat of fusion that

material system. After a series of experiments to

has the ability to melt and solidify at a certain tem-

fully understand the behavior of the raw material,

perature. Exploiting their endothermic and exother-

the project develops structure methodologies using

mic reactions using the latent heat of fusion, they

sensor-based generative design methods con-

are capable of storing and releasing large amounts

nected to customized fabrication hardware. Finally,

of energy based on the energy stored in the chemi-

the ultimate goal of this research is to propose ap-

cal bonds. So far the uses of PCMs concern their

plication of PET in architecture allowing a potential

application in thermal modification matters in multi-

construction of structures on site.

ple scales. Their possible exploitation in the design world could create structures able to be constantly transformed with the implementation of heat. Within a wide variety of available of plastics, the raw material for the research project should be something that would combine the properties of thermoplastics but at the same time be accessible and easy to find. For this reason, PET plastic was the most appropriate choice. PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) is one of the most commonly used food packaging plastic. It is commonly recycled, and has the number “1� as its recycling symbol. While most thermoplastics can, in principle, be recycled, PET bottle recycling is more practical than many other plastic applications. The primary reason is that plastic carbonated soft drink bottles and water bottles, which are widely spread in the market and create a surplus of post-consumer waste, are almost exclusively made of PET. This type of thermoplastic has the ability to create clear and smooth surfaces and is an excellent barrier to water and carbon dioxide. It is very resistant to high impacts, shatters, solvents and can contain hot content without dissolving. The abundance of PET plastic in post-consumer waste and its chemical and physical properties were crucial for its choice. The purpose of this project is to investigate a range of design and

Project Thesis 13

Material Transformation

In order to be reused PET plastic needs to be transformed into “PET Flakes”, small fragments of plastic with a diameter ranging from 5 to 15 mm. This transformation is a complex processing that generally includes 6 stages: presorting by color, grinding, floating in order to eliminate foreign materials, pre-washing, hot washing and centrifugation to remove the washing water. In that way PET post-consumer waste not only does turn into fragments but also is cleansed from items that are physically attached to the PET bottles or contents that require further processing for their removal, producing a pure material for further use. However, since our project is using PET flakes as a raw material for architectural purposes, it does not need to become pure fragments and thus, this process can be simplified to the phases of floating, gridding, the first stage of washing and centrifugation. After being collected from recycle spots, landfills, coastal and marine environments, the plastic is processed through granulating machines to be shredded into manipulatable small flakes. Granulator machines must have specific features. Since plastic is really light the granulator needs to have strong blades to trap the material in and achieve its shredding. The rotating blades have to be sharp all along the grinding procedure otherwise size of flakes will increase and bulk density of flakes will be much less. Running a granulator with dull blades means many flakes “open up” like it was a multi-layer material and trap air when going into water, making them to float during washing.

raw material


plastic products are grinded down into smal particles - flakes

the flakes are washed to eliminate impurities and dirt



drying the drying process occurs in a centrifuge, hot air can be used at the end of the process

the plastic flakes are finally stored for additional uses


Material Transformation 15

References The Sea Chair Project

Fluid Cast

The Sea Chair Project has been created by Studio

The use of phase changing materials in design,

Swine and Kieren Jones as a response to the rais-

as seen in the Architectural Association of London

ing levels of plastic waste to the oceanic environ-

“Flying Animals” project (Ena Lloret, María Eugenia

ment. Combining handcraft and industrial design,

Villafañe, Jaime De Miguel, Catalina Pollak) was as

the project exploits the fishing industry in order to

well an important influence for the current research.

create a series of chairs made from plastic waste

The project uses paraffin wax for the production of

components, collected straight from the sea. The

a series of prototypes to confront traditional cast-

plastic used for the production of the first Sea Chair

ing systems with their rigidity of static cast to give

comes from the shores of Porthtowan, a beach on

shape to the material. Flying Animals propose a

the Southwest Coast, known to be the most pollut-

dynamic process of formation, constructing instant

ed beach in the UK for micro plastic. The Sea Chair

structures via a fast setting process. Based on the

was created using the Sea Press, a machine that

study of material behavior and following a logic of

allows plastic to be heated and formed, combined

digital fabrication, they explore the possibility of de-

with simple molds and tools on site. The concept of

veloping a novel system of production in construc-

collecting tossed floating plastic trash and its on-site

tion technologies for rapid formations, opening a

manipulation to create design object constitutes a

new chapter for possible architectural applications.

big reference for the PET FLAKES project.

The Endless Chair The Endless Chair series were designed by the Dutch designer Dirk Van Der Kooij. After getting inspired from an old 3D printer, the designer used an industrial robot from a Chinese production line to help him with his graduation project. Using grinded old refrigerators as his raw material, he developed a more manufacturing method than actual furniture design. Considering the high investments for complicated molds that usually have to be made for automated processes, he developed a system which enables serial, automated production independent from the object’s design. He taught a robot his new craft, drawing furniture out of one long plastic string. The small bits of the old refrigerators were poured into the top of the robot arm and melted. This liquid material was then extruded from a moving arm that drew the plastic material into an endless line which was worked in layers/ to form a chair or table. This opened the possibility for Dirk van der Kooij to design in the good old-fashioned way, making a chair, evaluating, refining it until it gets the shape he wanted, developing an infinitely large collection of variations. Committed to environmentally-friendly design, Van Der Kooij chose to give new life to old fridges, saving them from scrap yards and landfills. The concept of exploiting old used materials through a new and innovative approach is of high reference in the PET Flakes project. At the same time, the structure of the developed nozzle for the conduction of the prototype experiments and the extrusion technique is highly influenced by that of Dirk Van Der Kooij.

The Sea Chair Project / Studio Swine and Kieren Jones Flying Animals, AA project /Ena Lloret, MarĂ­a Eugenia VillafaĂąe, Jaime De Miguel, Catalina Pollak The Endless Chairs / Dirk Van der Kooij


Material research

In order to explore the potential as well as the physical constraints of the PET plastic as a structural material, it was essential at the early stages of the research to go through a series of experiments that would give us a complete insight in its behavior. As mentioned previously, PET is a phase changing material. Moving consciously to exploit its properties as PCM, we started working right from the beginning with heat, rejecting any other method-like pressure application -for manipulation of plastics. The first experiments were conducted manually, in an analogue way, using a variety of tools, namely heat guns, magnifying lenses to achieve melting using sun rays and blowtorches of multiple powers. The heat was tested either straight on the PET flakes or indirectly with the intervention of a thin metal sheet between the heating source and the material. After the production of the first prototypes, we approached the PET flakes tests more digitally. The first nozzle using a blow torch head was developed and attached to the ShopBot providing a really simple geometrical code. With the use of Arduino boards that would control the intensity of the blowtorch fire and the adjustment of sensors, some primary efforts were made so as to discern connection between temperature and velocity of the nozzle along the passes, when the g-code was executed.

Material Research 19

Plastic is a material that melts relatively easily, but it is also easy to get burnt. The task of the analogue experiments was-on one hand-to get a first glimpse of how PET flakes behave when heat is applied and on the other to find the proper method of heating implementation to achieve a utilizable quality of melted plastic avoiding its burning. Initially, PET flake rows or piles were laid onto sand surfaces to avoid sticking to the base surface. The heat gun was the first tool to be tested. Even though it theoretically produces enough heat to melt the plastic, in action this proved to be unfeasible to happen, as the force of the exited hot air was dispersing the flakes away. Magnifying lenses were more effective in melting than heat guns, but needed too much time to achieve it. Their calibration was complicated and the sun rays could not be controlled properly and distributed along the flake surfaces. The melting was more vertical than twodimensional and prevented the PET to create connections and unified surfaces. The blowtorch turned out to be the most efficient and controllable method of manipulating plastic. The flame was powerful enough to achieve melting in a short amount of time and the spreading of flakes was much less comparing to the heat gun. With the discovery of the proper method the material trials started to evolve. Instead of applying heat only in a single row of flakes, a variety of formations was tested. As an attempt to create solid surfaces, the plastic was worked in single layers, in piles and in a layer-by-layer way be depositing and melting consecutive layers of material. At the same time, the use of thermosensors enabled collecting important information about the temperature and get feedback for the melting point.

Analogue Experiments / Direct Heat Manipulation Tools / Magnifying Lense, Blowtorch Efforts To Create Unified Surfaces / Layers, Piles, Layer-by-Layer Deposition


Machine Prototype 1.0 Arduino Uno Board Due to its success in the analogue experiments, the blowtorch combined with an Arduino board, a servo and thermosensors has been the basis for the first nozzle prototype. In order to embed automation to the process, the concept had been

Screws 9 mm

to control accordingly to temperature data the gas provision and thus the intensity of the fire. Under this logic, a thermosensor was adjusted at the tip of the nozzle that would give feedback to the Arduino board, enabling to select important information for the behavior of the material

Servo Mortor 360

in relation to the power of the blowtorch. The gas rate was calibrated with a set of gears rotated from the servo, controlled through Firefly plug-in for Grasshopper. A wooden frame was employed to mount the nozzle to the ShopBot. Nevertheless, no interaction was achieved

Gears X 2

between the swivel-hence the calibration of the rate of gas and Arduino that collected the temperature information.

Plastic Tube


Laser Cutted Wooden Pieces

Thermosensor > 300 Degrees

Blowtorch > 1200 Degrees


and Z-axis distance from the PET flakes.

out changing the parameters of temperature

different speeds and number of passes with-

tried to control the material behavior, testing

At the first experiments using the ShopBot we

Hacking the ShopBot

Generate the Code


placement. The purpose was to achieve the proper melting of the flakes without burning them, reproducing the manual experiments following a more mechanical way. Unlike the

quality of the material. However, generally the final outcomes of the samples were not the expected. Instead

of creating solid surfaces, the flakes behaved more like particles, lacking of consistency and utilizable

mechanical properties, leading us afterwards to evolve the process into a more subtle manipulation method.


from the material to come to safe

well as keeping the desirable stable distance

to the velocity during the nozzle passes as

manual tests, the ShopBot offered precision

as to avoid its being adhered to the surface of

enlightening to define the connection between the ShopBot movement, the intensity of fire and the melting

material was placed on a thin layer of sand so

either squares or lines of PET flakes. The

The paths for the tests were simple g-codes,

PET plastic.

cal means and the physical characteristics of

the connection between the available techni-

After the completion of the tests, there were locally some parts that gave a few promising results and were

Greating Paths and Pattern in Grasshopper

Generate the ShopBot Code

process, but starting step by step bridging

to fully automatize and digitalize the whole

To this point, the greatest interest was not

The fire was applied directly to the material.

[ Line I ]

[ Line II ]

[ Line III ]

Line I / ShopBot Move Speed_30mm/sec | One Pass | Minimum connection between the PET Flakes Line II / ShopBot Move Speed_15mm/sec | One Pass | Maximum connection between the PET Flakes Line III / ShopBot Move Speed_15mm/sec | Two Passes | High connection between the PET Flakes

Numeric Control Fixed Temperature Testing Different Speeds and number of passes The results of this method of manipulating PET are

rately, creating little connections along the surface.

better summarized and discernible to a certain exper-

Line 2: 15mm/sec-One pass / For the second line the

iment that included the successive melting of three

speed was reduces by half. This time the outcome

rows of material using different speeds and number

was more unified than before and the melted flakes

of passes, to define the proper combination between

started creating some bonds with the adjacent parti-

the two factors. Creating subsequent surfaces of

cles. `

same density of flakes made the comparisons easier

Line 3: 15mm/sec- Two passes / The last part of the

and facilitated the observations upon the behavior of

test was executed with the same speed of 15mm/sec

the material.

but this time was driven twice above the flakes. The

Line 1: 30mm/sec-One Pass / The experiment start-

sample created with these parameters was structurally

ed configuring the speed of the ShopBot to 30mm/

the most consistent. The plastic was melted with-

sec and passing the blowtorch only once above the

out getting burned while the quality of the produced

PET row. This speed proved to be insufficiently fast.

material started having some convenient mechanical

The particles were more or less melting almost sepa-


Material Particles / Simulations Combination of Different Forces Applied on Materials Particles Melting plastic on a planar surface Observing and documenting the inherit form-finding principles of PET flakes was an important stage of the research. In order to accumulate them later in the design process computational simulations were essential even in this very primitive phase, so as to model the behavior of the particle system when heat is implemented. The simulation digitally reproduced the clustering that we noticed, as the created cluster units carried appealing mechanical characteristics that could be further explored. The digital representation of the physical phenomena during the tests and their visualization helped in better comprehending it and come up with more effective manipulation approaches. Based on the behavioral data from the conducted material trials the dynamics of the matter were simulated with Kangaroo plug-in of Grasshopper. PET flakes were considered as a system of random non-dimensional points with a standard distance between them and a fixed range of power per particle. As seen in the image above, the applied forces are gradually decreasing the magnitude of the flakes surface. The PET particles when melting they tend to attract their adjacent ones and in this way they start to create bigger and denser units of matter. As the heating continues and the melting is being proceeded the formed clusters keep on growing in size until the distance between the particles does not allow any more their physical interaction. Material Particles / Simulations 27

in-Direct Heat / Back to the future

This unexpected low quality of results in structural

result. The trials that included a slight reduction in

terms, led us to take one step backwards to manual

the amount of heat provided, in order to optimize

experimenting so as to re-examine the method of

the time and energy of heating, resulted in creating


brittle structures as the flakes were melted and

The flakes were tested using the same formation

fused but developed weak connections.

as in the previously conducted analogue testing, only this time the layers, piles and multiple layered shapes were heated indirectly. The spreading from the blowtorch flame was an obstacle that prevented the material from unifying into surfaces. For this reason, a metal shield was interjected between the fire and the plastic that not only did solve the problem of dispersing but helped in distributing the heat more efficiently. The kind of base of placement was also re-considered. As the sand layer that was used had some particles fused with the plastic, this affected the quality of the produced prototypes. The material was from that point placed onto metal surfaces that left the material clean from impurities. As the fire was also heating the base metal, this promoted the connection of the flakes into a consistent surface. Nevertheless, besides the effectiveness in achieving the proper melting without burning the plastic, the method required a lot of energy to create a solid

Material Transformation 29

The heating method with the blowtorch was effective to cause melting of the flakes but nevertheless the way it was applied to the material was inefficient as far as the quality and potential of the results we manage to have. Even though the flakes were creating bonds and produced a few promising samples of structural interest, the energy and amount of material needed to create them was inversely proportional to the quality that we achieved. The production of a long series of PET flakes prototypes showed that the raw material could not become consistent and structural by its own. The

Falses & Failures

direct flame from the blowtorch was melting the flakes fast but its force was spreading the particles away and thus preventing them from connecting, while the indirect way of heating needed much more time to induce melting and solidifying of the flakes into a unified surface. What was also observed along the tests was the fact that the part of the plastic attached to the metal base that was used for the placement of the material, created a fused smooth surface that required significantly less energy to be shaped. The base worked practically as a mold, and its transformations due to heating affected the shape of the adjusted PET plastic surface. This observation was embodied to the next phase and moved the research a step further. [ throwing nuclear bombs on ants ]


230 to 240 Degrees

The successes and failures of the tests during the material research stage shed light on how PET flakes behave in fluid and solid state. The rigorous recording of measurements during the experiments, offered important information about temperature fluctuation, amount of energy required for the proper melting and time needed to change from one state to another. The taken feedback showed that the plastic reaches the desired melting between 230-240 degrees without getting burnt or depolymerized and in this way retains its properties as a Phase Changing Material. It could rapidly move from one state to another, with the fluid parts creating unified surfaces and the solid ones functioning as supporting material that facilitated the connective elaborations. The developed indirect sintering proved that the interjection of a shield helped in distributing the heat more smoothly preventing the flake surfaces from collapsing. Furthermore, the metal sheet that was used as a base also promoted the transformation of the shaped clusters of PET into a consistent unity, as its inevitable heating during the sintering process converted it practically into a type of mold for the flakes. These spare observations were determinant as their exploitation established the basic principles for the developed technology. Sintering, the structural properties of raw and melted flakes and the utilization of molds were combined in order to explore the dynamics of a novel extruding method. The produced nozzle summarized technologically all the fundamental observations and defined the way according to which the PET flakes would be treated from then on.


The Tube Experiment The search for possible molds had to take into account several parameters. It was not only a matter of finding the proper geometry but the chosen mold should be able to eliminate collapsing of the PET flake piles, withstand heating, resist in the caused physical deformations and diffuse evenly the heat along the sintering surfaces, reproducing the effect of the aforementioned interjected metal shield. A wide range of molds, out of aluminum or steel, was used during the experiments. The test results proved that steel containers responded better than aluminum when heat was applied. As steel has higher thermal capacity than aluminum, the fire induces rising of temperature and thus melting of plastic, unlike the latter that worked mostly as a heat repeller. The molding technique that was implemented was more dynamic than stable. The flakes have the tension to stick on the surfaces they attach after they melt and start solidifying. For this reason, pressing the material when being in fluid state was essential to avoid adhering. This could only happen in closed surfaces, as the application of pressure on open ones during the on-going melting phase would destroy the forming connections between the particles and make the flake surface collapse. Considering all these requirements and evaluating the outcomes, the steel cylindrical tube that was used among other molding means summarized all the essential features for the creation of prototypes. Besides the discovery of the most applicable shape, it was also found that changes in the provided amount of heat, the time that the blowtorch was burning the tube, the velocity of extrusion and the pressure produced different series of samples that varied in height, density of shell and shape. The sintered shells fluctuated from light and fibrous to thick and solid ones, offering a wide range of structural qualities.


Plastic Extruder The elements of the manual extrusion were accumulated to design the new nozzle prototype. The effectiveness of the steel tube made it a permanent part of the established extrusion technology. So far, the feeding with PET flakes and the necessary pressuringusing a piston that pushed the melted material out of the metal cylinder-were done by hand. The same process was reproduced mechanically. The two principles were combined in such way so that the pushing would be achieved and controlled by the rate of feeding. The created plastic extruder was based on the use of the cylinder and was enhanced with a helix and a motor, held by a wooden frame for the ShopBot. At first, the helix was casted using plastic and then attached to its axis of rotation. The helix rotated with a motor that was taken from an old printer and functioned using electricity. The heating was for the time being done manually using antidiametrically blowtorches.

Dc Motor / 24 Volts

Connection to the Motor

Screws in the Nozzle Body / 8 mm

Wooden Body / 10 mm

Plastic Helix to Press and Feed Material

Translucent Pipe for Continuous Deposition

Wooden Support Element

Connection to CNC Machine

Nozzle Steel Head / 56 mm



Supporting Material The structures are created without any need of a cast. The same material works both structural and supportive.

Tubular Prototypes The discovery that the cylinder could produce a series of successful samples pushed the design research further. Using a common oil steel tube full of flakes, the developed method was a combination of molding and extruding.

The PET flakes would fill in the cylinder, be pressed tightly and then heated and extruded. Instead of heating the tube all along its height, the fire would be applied locally, only in a narrow zone close to the bottom, as the steel would anyhow transfer the implemented heat. Before any attempt of extrusion was made, two blowtorches were heating simultaneously two antidiametrical points of the tube for about 1 minute, so as to heat efficiently the steel and begin to melt the plastic internally. The rotating helix started pressuring the material out of the cylinder. In this way, the flakes would take the shape of the mold without getting stuck on its walls. The extruded tube was semi-liquid but solidified rapidly after a few seconds, without any catalyst. Zooming in to the structure after the extrusion finished, it was noticed that only the external particles of PET melted creating a thin but strong shell. The internal ones remained intact and worked as pressuring means while in the tube, pushing the external flakes onto its heated walls. In this way, they facilitated the sintering into a unified surface and helped the extruded PET tube to retain its shape, preventing it from collapsing. As the molding was dynamic, there was no limitation in height. The combined process of melting, molding and extruding meant that as long as there is feeding of PET flakes the extrusion can be continuous and limitless.

Vertical Extrusion with Fixed Diameter [ molting temperature 230 C ]

Catalyst. No catalyst is used for the solidification process. The solidification of the material happens through the exposure to the environment

Diagramatic Approach Tube in sections


Tube Anatomy Simulation in Plan and Section As in the primitive samples of prototypes prior to the tube experiments, the conducted tests had to be simulated and modelized. The data collected during the physical experiments concerning the relation between the created structure and parameters like temperature and speed of extrusion were used to reproduce the experiments digitally and potentially optimize the design. The PET particles were again considered as non-dimensional point system that depending on the power of heat and velocity of extrusion produced structures of different features. As the process could only be observed when the plastic was extruded from the tube, simulation would show what was happening inside the cylinder when different parameters are set and at the same time try to find the physical constraints of the structure discovering its breaking point. The image below sums up the results of this study. The simulation showed the structural outcome for fixed temperature and variable speed rates. As shown, a low and steady speed results in more thick and solid speeds. The increase in speed rate is inversely proportional to the thickness of the PET shell while variable speeds produce variable thicknesses along the extruded tube. As the velocity of extrusion rises the structure becomes less thick, more porous and transparent. The particles do not remain enough time in the cylinder to cluster sufficiently so the tube reaches its breaking point.

Pet Flakes

Heated Pet Flakes

Metal Tube

Breaking Point

Solid Pet Flakes Particles

Melted Plastic Particles


Developing the Structure Algorithm Linderman System Algorithm Based on ‘‘Logo’’ Programming Language

The proven ability of the nozzle to produce continuous tubular prototypes set the new problematic on how these could be developed. Searching in natural systems for inspiration to expand in large scale keeping in mind the design potential at that point, the project was based initially on Lindemayer Systems (L-Systems) to further evolve the structures. An L-System is a parallel rewriting system that was developed and used to model plant growth and the

Fibonacci Sequence [ numeric control ] [ connections ] [ rate of grouth ]

L-System [ axiom ] [ first recursion ] [ second recursion ] [ third recursion ]

morphological variety of organisms. The production rules of this system lead to recursive, fractal-like forms that become gradually more complex as the recursion level increases. In PET extrusion terms, this meant a branching development for the tube structures, sharing the same optimized angles as the branches in nature that fluctuate between 45 to 60 degrees. The branching was tested on a vertical tube, attaching the tip of the nozzle

Skin Structure Algorithm The Way That the Human Tissue Grows in angle to a point along its height. The nozzle cylinder penetrated in an angle the vertical plastic structure and in this way the extruded part became strongly embedded to the point of adhesion. The logic of the design development was further evolved according to the algorithm of skin structure. This algorithm is already used in architecture from Toyo Ito in his Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London. In our case, the output of the skin tissue pattern could be structurally translated to produce vertical tubular assemblies from PET flakes that bear branching. The concept of extruded plastic fibers as structural units would later be the basis for the proposed perspective design.


Vertical Extrusion + Diagonal Extrusion [ fixed diameter / molting temperature 230 C ] Connectivity The steel nozzle penetrates the vertical PET tube before the extrusion process starts.

Branch angle As in nature, for optimizing the strength of the branch, its angle must be between 45 - 60 degrees.

Performance Strong connection when the solidification process finishes

Diagramatic Approach of Connection

Diagonal Tube Diameter 58mm Solidification time 30’’ Extruding speed 1 mm /s Connection Strength

Vertical Tube Diameter 58mm Solidification time 30’’ Extruding speed 0.5 mm /s Strength


Geometrical Re-definition The series of produced prototypes verified that the

was achieved with the same tube but penetrating

developed method of extrusion and the designed

damaged the structural continuity of the vertical

hardware could effectively shape the PET flakes.

tube and affected its mechanical properties. What

The plastic tubes were created using only one

was also discovered was that working in full scale

material that had both structural and supportive

prototypes prevented from exploring the full design

function. The solidification proved to be a really

potential of the method. The technical limitations

rapid process that happened just with the exposure

according to the extrusion height, the capabilities

in the environment, without any need for catalysts.

of the ShopBot, the unmanageable size of the

Moreover, the parameters during the extrusion

structures that should be extruded to explore the

phase could be manipulated and provided a level of

potential made us approach the research by moving

control to the mechanical quality of the samples.

down in scale, something that offered better per-

As far as the design is concerned, the explorations

ception and more effective control on the design.

on fractals as a way of development led to the trials on branching. Normally, attaching a branch would need a smaller diameter of nozzle. In this case it


Scale Down / Scale Up

The concrete proof that the nozzle could efficiently produce tubes from PET flakes completed a long sequence of 1:1 scale prototypes. The design progression was still pending as working in full scale models did not allow to expand the structure enough and thus have a generic overview of the morphological potential of the material and its manipulating method. In order to solve the matter of structural development, the design exploration had to be scaled down. So far, the prototypes were created using a 58mm steel tube. The following experiments would refer to scale 1:20. The designed nozzle was significantly influenced by the technology of MakerBot, the open source hardware for 3D printing, introducing a different approach in additive manufacturing. Working in a smaller scale would mean that the flakes of plastic, which were used so far, should be as well scaled down and be grinded more finely. As this was not feasible, instead of melting PET particles, the nozzle had to use a similar, more practical material. The flakes were therefore substituted by EPS plastic of MakerBot. The material comes in the form of fiber and has same physical properties with PET, including the melting point, its viscosity when being in fluid state and the rapid solidification. The scaling down of the process advanced the research in terms of material behavioral tendencies and design perspectives. The higher manipulability of the ABS fiber for experiments enabled its testing not just in separate parts but in completed scaled structures, easing the drawing of analogy between PET plastic and architecture.


Machining Prototyping The hardware development for the extrusion of

ware. The ABS fiber was driven in a screwing cou-

plastic fiber was based on the reproduction of the

pling tip of 3mm diameter that was heated with the

MakerBot printing logic but unlike its layer-by-layer

help of hot wires or resistors. An Arduino board was

deposition way and 0.5mm printing tip, the project

deployed to control the temperature of the heat-

would focus in achieving a continuous in-space

ing wires to reach and stabilize at the 230 degrees

thread printing using a fiber of wider diameter. The

melting point. The experiments started with extrud-

fact that the printing area was not a MakerBot plate

ing a single fiber of 3mm to produce the geome-

but the surface of the ShopBot, abolished the limi-

tries. The nozzle was tested straight to the ShopBot

tations on the expanding extend of the produced

so as to ensure precision in movement. During


the trials, a range of shapes were tested varying

Primarily, the intention was to solve the equation of

from straight lines to spiral curves, changing each

temperature, speed of extrusion and the resulted

time parameters like height and angle increment to

quality of extrusion by producing a relatively simple

explore the design constraints of the method. The

nozzle for manual experimenting. Using random

nozzle was also used manually in space, to try free

material, the primitive fiber extruders resembled

form, more complex configurations and achieve

more in primitive versions of the MakerBot hard-

connection between the fibers. As an attempt to

Manual Extruders

enhance the strength of the structures, the extru-

ated breaking points along its surface.

sion tip was replaced by one of 6mm diameter that

Assessing to give precision to the process to

fitted two fibers at the same time and would result in

control the outcome and sustain the integrity of the

thicker and perhaps more stable formations.

nozzle, the developed hardware was equipped with

The only thing that was calibrated during these

common direct current (DC) motors that rotating

experiments was the temperature while the feeding

would drive the fiber in the heated extrusion tip

was done only by hand and thus lacking in accura-

at a stable pace. The faced problems, however,

cy. This instability in feeding rate affected either the

remained. The motors rotated too fast to push the

quality of the extruded fiber or the functionality of the

material or were not strong enough in lower speeds.

nozzle. If the fiber was pushed too much, the plastic

For this reason, instead of a common one, a DC

could not melt efficiently, spilled over uncontrollably

motor with gears was installed that enabled push-

outside the extrusion tip and hence destroyed the

ing sufficiently the material in the heated tip even

nozzle. On the other hand, in case of low feeding

when the motor was working in low rotating speeds.

rate, the material was overheated. If not being burnt,

The calibration of the feeding rate and the already

the emissions released from its overheating created

achieved control of heating ensured the desirable

bubbles on the body of the extruded fiber and cre-

structural quality to the produced prototypes.


Analogue Prototypes



3 mm / Spirals The fact that the extrusion method could ensure a stable quality to the melted material allowed to focus on the design research using the ShopBot. As long as the feeding would not stop and the temperature would remain fixed the nozzle could print continuously, without any breaking point. The task this time was to find the proper geometry, to exploit the full potential of the material and its extruding method. The stability in movement that the ShopBot offered allowed conducting controlled experiments, reproducing with precision geometrical codes from 3D Rhino in physical models. The trials tried to combine the conclusions on geometry and design properties of the manual printing by producing more complex formations. From the straight lines and primitive curves, the newly developed nozzle was more convenient to try printing forms and shapes that skip the two dimensional plane and can be extruded with accuracy in space this time. The inherent structural flexibility of plastic and its design constraints were explored with a series of spirals of different heights and diameters to discover the connection between material behavior and geometry. What was realized was that it is feasible to produce multi-part configurations that could be simultaneously steady and flexible. According to their geometrical proportions the spirals had different mechanical behavior fluctuating from rigid and inflexible to extremely bendy.


DC Motor / 12 Volts

Power Supply / 12 Volts

151 mm

Resistor > 300 C

Spiral Variations 59

3 mm / Spirals


3 mm / Arcs and Connections

The possibility of creating connections was tested through the creation of successive rows of arcs. The experiment showed that extruded fibers could indeed be attached but set yet another problem. Even though the tested shapes were simpler than the spiral series the final outcome was not the one designed or predicted as the geometry was deformed by the nozzle itself. Due to the fact that the extrusion was done vertically, the nozzle had some of its parts destroying the geometry while moving. The extruded fiber is in semi-liquid state when extracted from the tip of the nozzle and for this reason liable to form distortions. The inference from this incident was that the trajectory of the nozzle should follow the tangent in every point of the curve, to avoid the contact with the extruded structures.


Following the Trajectory Additionally to having the nozzle deforming the

expected behavior of the material and it starts work-

structure, it was realized that the direction of the

ing in unpredictable ways. In this way the produced

nozzle affects also the material behavior when the

geometry has significant deviations comparing to

fiber is under solidification. If the extrusion trajectory

the initially designed one. Taking into consideration

is vertical to the geometry and does not comply with

the results from the last experiments and evaluating

its tangent, the plastic is prevented from melting

the current potential of the developed extruder, it

evenly. If the tip extrudes vertically or in angle the

was apparent that the nozzle should be enhanced

fiber at its extrusion point has one side touching

by embodying more freedom to its motion. This

the heated tip-consequently the melting process is

could only be achieved by adding movement in two

on-going- while the other is exposed in the air and

more axes.

solidifies rapidly. This difference in state disturbs the

Solidification Point

Melting Point

d = v*t

t = solidification time of plastic after extrusion = 2.3sec v = extrusion speed (feeding speed and nozzle speed) d = distance of solidification point from the extrution point

Solidification Point

Melting Point

d = 30mm

Solidification Point

Melting Point

d = 46mm When the speed is big the distance between the solidification point and the melting point grows and s does the deformation

Vertical to the Trajectory Tangent

Nozzle Trajectory

Feeding Force

Gravitational Forces

Aligned To the Trajectory Tangent / Optimised


Nozzle Trajectory

Feeding Force

Gravitational Forces 65

4 and 1/2 axis Rotation The problem with the trajectory and vector of extrusion was solved when the nozzle was reconfigured by setting two more axes of rotation in its body. This would ensure that the nozzle would have a higher moving leeway and protect the extruded geometries from being deformed or destructed. The new structure of the nozzle not only eased matters of proximity but moreover it widened the range of possible structural configurations. The first axis was added to the wooden body of the nozzle and enabled the rotation around X while the second was closer to the tip and allowed rotating around Y axis. Servos

Thermistor > 300 Degrees [C ]

and gears controlled by Arduino boards gave motion to the new cams and the movement could be substantiated in both axes simultaneously. These new axial rotations eradicated constraints and managed to synchronize the parameters of trajectory and proximity. The nozzle could follow the geometrical codes with much higher accuracy without distorting the final outcome.

Nozzle Head / 3 mm

Wooden Frame / 10 mm

Dc Motor / 12 Volts

ABS Plastic Aperture

Servo Motor & Gears


Continuous Deposition / Spiral Wall

Continuous Deposition / Horizontal Deposition


Continuous Deposition / Horizontally Printed Square Spiral

Axial Deformations The technical issues concerning the nozzle and its motion were quarreled and relatively high precision in the reproduction of g-codes was achieved but notwithstanding matters of deformation due to the plastic material itself were still unresolved. The problems related to material behavior were toughening up the development of the structures and resulted in lessening the design accuracy of the extrusion outcome. These deformations occurred in all axes of the created structures and depending on the geometrical proportions fluctuated in the extent of distortion. As far as the Z-axis is concerned, the gravitational forces affected the extruded prototypes in two ways. The first had to do with distorting effects happening during the solidification process. The gravity vector was dragging down some parts that were just extruded, and hence in a semi-liquid state, and created unexpected trajectories. This problem was noticed in a sine curve, where the upper parts started to collapse right after extrusion, losing their designed curvature. The second effect due to gravity concerned the shrinking of the geometry along its height when the extrusion was over, as when the fiber was detached from the nozzle the

Nozzle Head 3mm

Deformation in Structure While Printing G-Code path

Printed Structure


structure driven by its own weight was retreating

in a curve of high degree. All this feedback had

vertically a few centimeters. Deformations were also

to be accumulated into the design so the created

noticed in XY plane. The nozzle was slightly pulling

g-codes release the tension between the designed

the geometry while printing, which overall signified a

and the printed product.

shift from the initially set geometry. Moreover, there were limitations on what configurations it was possible to print. It was proved that g-code of angular geometries could not be successfully executed. The corners were automatically filleted due to the physical tensions of the material. The result was the approximate version of the digital model, transformed

As seen in the primitive analogue experiments, it

formations were morphologically and structurally af-

was feasible to create connections between the

fected, it was important to use a method that would

fibers. However, the fiber-to-fiber attachment could

predict possible transformations of the material and

only be done when at least one of the extruded

relate it to the geometry in order to ensure the high-

threads is still under solidification and not totally so-

est possible precision to the fabrication process.

lidified. While in the manual testing of connections it is easy to follow the prospective deformations and achieve attachment, this is more complicated when it comes to the digital approach. The geometrical distortions that happen during printing are shifting the designed points of connection and seeing that the executed g-code is not re-informed with the occurred data, connecting is abortive or even impossible. Consequently, by virtue of the fact that the


Simulations and Structural Behaviour In this stage of the research the simulation was approached in a different manner. The particle systems, on which the simulations were based so far, were replaced by curve and vector analysis so as to simplify the computational process and be more

Control Points

time efficient. The creation of parametric models was necessary to anticipate the potential outcome of the solidified plastic threads, allowing a certain level of prediction. The elaboration using the digital models offered greater efficiency to the design process and embraced an analytical approach to the structural behavior of

Nozzle Trajectory

the geometries. Within the computational framework, the speeding rate and temperature are considered to have fixed values, and the simulation concerns the visualization of the design result for different speeds and trajectories. The creation of the digital model is separated into three parts to deal with each kind of form distortion and the special structural features of the fiber. The first calculates the Z-axis deformation that was noticed during the tests following a particular norm. According to that, the estimation on the design result is done

Z Deformation

by setting as a rule that the occurred displacement takes its maximum value when the nozzle moves horizontally while it is insignificant when the movement is vertical. As found during the experiments the bigger the degree of curvature, the bigger the divergence in the final outcome is. This deviation is calculated in the second part of the simulation, approximating the changes in curvature along XY plane.

Final Outcome

z - z vector t - tangent vector p0 - origin point p1 - new point d

- deformation

a - angle between vectors

t - tangent vectors p1,p2 - origin points p1-2,p2-3 - new points d1-2,d2-3 - deformation a1-2 - angle between tangents 75

The last part includes the simulation respecting the structural behavior of the resulting formations. The physical properties of plastic require a special simulating approach comparing to other materials. As the fiber’s mechanical behavior is not fixed and strongly depends on the geometry, the resulting structure should be modeled and tested in terms of flexibility, endurance and stress points. The diagrams below visualize the result of a vertical force on a simple spiral structure. The red areas indicate the highest points of stress during bending. This practically would mean either adding locally more material or lessen the spiral diameter to control the extent of

Vertical Forces



Computer Vision

The displacement of points during the extrusion process was an important problem that had to be faced, as its existence affected the structural expansion of the geometries and resulted in deflections from the originally designed model. In order to provide a solution to this matter, the project used artificial vision that would indicate possible displacement of points along the structures during printing. This method enabled to supervise the extruded structures in such way, that possible changes on movement and relocation of points are detected at a first level and redefine the new positions at a second. Having a full overview of the printed structures signifies that the connections can be achieved by relocating the trajectory of the nozzle according to the given feedback. Accumulating real time data and re-informing the executing geometrical code optimizes the accuracy between the designed and the final product. The effect of structural deforming on the adhering of the fibers was noticed through an experiment with successive rows of sin curves when the encountered deformations at the highest point of the arcs prevented the consecutive layers to attach. In order to connect, the new positions of the attachment points had to be pinpointed in the printed model and thereby create a new nozzle path for the next sine curve layer. This process of deformation detecting and point position redefinition through artificial vision took place after the completion of every layer so in the end the overall structural deviation would be minor.


Scale Up Based on the feedback from the ABS fiber manipulation, the project returns to 1:1 scale to exploit the results using PET flakes. All the principles that were discovered and developed as far as material behavior, geometrical combinations and the relative technology are concerned were transferred and translate-keeping in mind the limitation of the flake extrusion method-to achieve a controlled full scale fabrication process. For this purpose, a revised PET extruder was constructed, further evolving the hardware and software advances of the scaled down experiments. The new plastic nozzle is an upgraded model of the previous. Matters like feeding rate and speed of extrusion were already configured and controlled but the heating was conducted manually, something that provided only approximate precision to the produced models. In order to ensure stability and accuracy in the quality of fabrication, the melting needed to be digitally controlled. The blowtorches were therefore replaced by 12 thermistors whose temperature would be controlled with Arduino boards, following the logic of the ABS thread extrusion. The successful manipulation and the precision of the sintering outcome widened more the spectrum of possibilities concerning how far the project can get on design terms. The use of different thermistors, which have the ability to open and close according to the users input, can potentially achieve different densities and patterns of melting along the extrusion. In the framework of another research, this is expected to further develop the aesthetical outcome of the produced tubes and explore a range of new mechanical and geometrical properties using PET flakes.

Power Supply / 12 Volts

Heat Resistor / 300 C

100K Thermistor

Screws / 4mm

Thermal Barrier

Wood & Ceramic Insulation Tape

Plastic Extruders

Thermal Barrier

Wood & Ceramic Insulation Tape


Printing Electronics 83

The technology of extruding filaments of plastic in small and big scale has produced so far models that prove the capability of the current combination of matter and hardware to print three-dimensionally. Evaluating the way PET plastic is manipulated as well as the outcomes of the fabrication process, the project introduces the concept of thread architecture. Architectural systems based on fibrous geometries ensure lightness in structure, spatial fluidity and optimization in material and time economy. Organized in thread formations, the fibers of PET can retain the physical and mechanical properties that were noticed during the tests and open up a new field for lightweight architecture. The special feature of flexibility enabled to design architectural formations that are simultaneously performative and ornamental, as the created tensions signify different loads distribution and structural capacities and enable more complex topologies.

Thread Architecture The proposed method of manufacturing using PET flakes can be exploited to produce infrastructural systems on existing buildings and topologies that due to the reusability of the material may be constantly reformed. In order to further research the design and streamline the fabrication process, the project combined the created extrusion nozzle with advanced robotic systems, a move that liberated creatively the proposed geometries and simplified the actions that had to be taken to ensure synchronization. The design is divested from conventional morphological solutions and adopts a more convenient approach that better translates the effect of material behavior on structural potential and its consequent aesthetics. The overture of thread architecture using PET fibers introduces a structural dynamic capable of producing complex geometries that at the same time are literally and aesthetically light, fluid and rigid, sustainable and cost-effective.


Space Feeling Curves The drawing of architectural analogies began with the production of domes and surfaces that differed in structural identity, in density and time elapsing. Starting from a basic surface the experiments were developed to provide multi-curvature and complexity to the produced prototypes. The first attempt to fabricate a thread surface was based on the idea that a single plastic fiber constantly unfolding can work as a space filling curve and in this way shape surfaces. The relevant extrusion process would develop the thread structure in a curveby-curve logic, as conventional 3d-printing, but operating in space instead of a two dimensional plane. The designed geometry was part of a semisphere and would be created continuously without gaps. As each fiber was extruded attaching to the previous the resulted structure was very stiff with insignificant collision and deformations, reproducing almost precisely the digital model. However, the process demanded an extreme amount of time to be completed and this fact in the framework of a realistic architectural scenario would be unprofitable and therefore unattainable. The continuous solid extrusion also resulted in an overuse of material to form the geometry. As part of the research was to achieve economy of means, the models had to be transformed using lighter patterns to optimize time and matter efficiency. The structure tested was a nest-like dome, shaped by tangling successive threads according to a random pattern. The result was satisfying since it was managed to create rapidly a self-stand surface with significantly less plastic fiber. The random patterns were simplified using a lattice structure that formed semi-torus spaces. The prototypes varied in complexity and density of threads so as to define the correlation between geometry, endurance and flexibility in every sample. So as to further evolve the project, the design started becoming more generative and complex utilizing an optimization software instead of designing the geometries from start to the end. The trials involved the creation of double-curved surfaces. The software would calculate the geometrical tolerance of the structure according to the possible extent that the nozzle can approximate without causing deformations. The provided g-code with this method would not only be highly procreative but also minimize the deviations between the designed and the fabricated model.

Continuous Structure / Filling Space

Continuous Structure / Filling Space

Continuous Structure / Filling Space

Surfaces Variations 87


Domes Variations


kuka Robotic System

The 4 and ½ axis nozzle solved many of the problems concerning the potential in movement but the capabilities of the ShopBot were limiting the range of possible structures. As the geometries were getting more complicated, they required a synchronized motion in multiple axes. This could not be achieved in a CNC machine that moves in X, Y, Z axes and despite the utilization of two more cams in the used nozzle, the geometries either could not develop in complexity or in case this was feasible, the time needed was prohibitive. This is the reason why the research had to be transferred to a KUKA robot that would eliminate technical constraints on design, synchronization and amount of time. KUKA is an industrial robot that has negligible limitations in motion and can move in any direction, optimizing the spectrum of geometrical choices. Practically this is translated in a higher ability in approximating the already extruded parts without causing deformations or collapses as the process continues and at the same time in an upgrading of the possible structural complexity. Utilizing robotics in the fabrication process solves the faced matters of synchronization between the nozzle and the CNC machine. The extruder in this case becomes the literal extension of the robot and obtains almost limited freedom in movement for the threedimensional printing. As the vector of extrusion can continuously follow the tangent of the trajectory in every point of the structures, the deviations from the designed geometry are demised with the parallel optimization of the quality of extrusion and time efficiency.


nozzle full size



Simulate the Kuka G-Code / Testing for Collisions and Printing Angles

;FOLD CHECK DAT-FILE GENERATION NUMBER IF CR_GENNUMBER <> 341444 THEN LOOP HALT ENDLOOP ENDIF ;ENDFOLD ;fold Tools and Bases used ; $ROBROOT = {x 0,y 0,z 0,a 0,b 0,c 0} ; BASE_DATA[7] = {x 0.000,y 0.000,z 0.000,a 0.000,b 0.000,c 0.000} ; TOOL_DATA[7] = {x 0.000,y 0.000,z 0.000,a 0.000,b 0.000,c 0.000} ; TOOLTABLE[7] = {x 0.000,y 0.000,z 0.000,a 0.000,b 0.000,c 0.000} ;endfold ;FOLD PTP P2 Vel= 50 % PDATP2;%{PE}%R 5.2.26,%MKUKATPBASIS,%CMOVE,%VPTP,%P 1:PTP, 2:P2, 3:, 5:50, 7:PDATP2 $BWDSTART = FALSE PDAT_ACT=PPDATP2 FDAT_ACT=FP2 BAS (#PTP_PARAMS,50) $H_POS=XP2 PTP XP2 ;ENDFOLD ;FOLD PTP P4 Vel= 50 % PDATP4 TOOL[7] BASE[7];%{PE}%R 5.2.26,%MKUKATPBASIS,%CMOVE,%VPTP,%P 1:PTP, 2:P4, 3:, 5:50, 7:PDATP4 $BWDSTART = FALSE PDAT_ACT=PPDATP4 FDAT_ACT=FP4 BAS (#PTP_PARAMS,50) PTP XP4 ;ENDFOLD ;--Start-- petflakes5dome2 ;BASE_DATA[7] ;TOOL_DATA[7] ;ToolTABLE[7] ;$TOOL = {x 0.000,y 0.000,z 0.000,a 0.000,b 0.000,c 0.000} ;$BASE = {x 0.000,y 0.000,z 0.000,a 0.000,b 0.000,c 0.000} ;$BASE = BASE_DATA[7]:{x 300,y 0,z 0,a 0,b 0,c 0} LIN {X 100.845, Y 103.597, Z 0.000, A 45.771, B -59.959, C -179.991} C_DIS LIN {X 100.845, Y 103.597, Z 0.000, A 45.771, B -59.959, C -179.991} C_DIS LIN {X 59.679, Y -31.012, Z 212.703, A -20.099, B -50.320, C 6.697} C_DIS LIN {X 29.221, Y -135.904, Z 23.552, A -73.939, B -60.789, C 174.447} C_DIS LIN {X 112.454, Y 13.060, Z 103.067, A -18.553, B -60.861, C -129.920} C_DIS LIN {X 102.439, Y -57.228, Z 87.385, A 7.392, B -55.416, C 111.312} C_DIS LIN {X 61.069, Y -69.413, Z 163.106, A -50.101, B -47.154, C -1.242} C_DIS LIN {X -38.142, Y 85.130, Z 196.619, A -8.471, B -78.741, C -41.247} C_DIS LIN {X -72.774, Y 121.841, Z 65.329, A 119.490, B -53.196, C -176.380} C_DIS LIN {X -71.411, Y -44.389, Z 213.606, A 166.679, B -46.951, C -30.998} C_DIS LIN {X -91.817, Y -114.675, Z 29.177, A -117.468, B -56.198, C 164.588} C_DIS LIN {X -103.996, Y -11.534, Z 179.389, A -163.037, B -40.218, C 15.118} C_DIS LIN {X -9.038, Y 133.899, Z 77.504, A 140.375, B -66.616, C 119.606} C_DIS LIN {X 13.589, Y 92.577, Z 184.231, A 82.089, B -46.971, C -0.135} C_DIS LIN {X 45.340, Y -87.390, Z 151.869, A -4.105, B -76.697, C 99.670} C_DIS LIN {X 30.669, Y -110.105, Z 111.743, A -79.743, B -58.421, C -166.646} C_DIS LIN {X -95.643, Y 14.948, Z 197.517, A -155.677, B -56.587, C 53.049} C_DIS LIN {X -132.812, Y 59.787, Z 62.264, A 155.192, B -60.402, C -178.354} C_DIS LIN {X -0.479, Y 5.784, Z 276.675, A -5.091, B -58.466, C -1.820} C_DIS LIN {X 120.584, Y -43.621, Z 46.439, A -18.204, B -56.701, C 176.475} C_DIS LIN {X 69.879, Y 28.633, Z 201.274, A 76.865, B -43.895, C 27.903} C_DIS LIN {X -25.581, Y 148.641, Z 16.068, A 112.950, B -61.045, C 164.673} C_DIS LIN {X -104.898, Y 28.019, Z 172.664, A 175.475, B -43.740, C 20.551} C_DIS LIN {X -133.069, Y -43.512, Z 75.591, A -154.497, B -70.458, C 170.698} C_DIS LIN {X 19.030, Y -12.929, Z 266.124, A -5.148, B -32.704, C 3.297} C_DIS LIN {X 134.019, Y 10.192, Z 23.708, A 30.583, B -62.437, C 147.868} C_DIS LIN {X 39.619, Y 134.983, Z 38.559, A 80.371, B -54.851, C 170.303} C_DIS ;--End-- petflakes5dome2

Diagramatic Nozzle Sequence

Plastic Extruder / ABS

1100 mm

Follow the Trajectory / Tangents

Structure Mounted on the Ground


Conceptualizing the project in different scales and

behavioral models, whose interaction with design

complexities is automatically leading, rather than

leads to a highly generative process. By encoding

encoding geometrical data to a single robotic unit,

simple architectural decisions within a distributed

in a vision of possible fabrication choreographies.

system of autonomous computational agents which

The prospect of combining multiple extrusions

operate in a sub-material level triggers an interaction

brings the dynamic of creating complex and at first

of local decisions that

glance untenable structures using simple codes

fundamentally self-organizes the initially set archi-

that are executed through a synchronization of

tectural intention. Form, structure and ornament will

concurrent unfolding of plastic threads. The fibers

emerge from the material behavior. The relation of

can be weaved and tangled together to compose

structure and ornament could be this way defined

thicker threads as bundling units that produce au-

either through the interaction of two discrete

tonomous structures, allowing to move up in scale

populations of agents, one structural and one

and complexity. The complication of the threads

ornamental, working within an ecology or a single

can potentially be done from a level of fiber section

population that is capable of local differentiations,

to that of final geometry, alternating mechanical

following sensitive rules that shift between structure

features according to form organization and density

and ornament according to the conditions. Unlike

of structure.

the traditional structural design process, this agent

The concept of multiplicity in the fabrication process

approach leads to a creation of non-linear struc-

brings up also issues of generative design and syn-

tures with load bearing being distributed through

chronization, as the implied high number of threads

a network of paths, relying on collectively organ-

can be potentially embedded with an internal logic

ized intensities. The produced fibrous formations

that could automate the process of design and

would inherit the properties of fluidity and flexibility to

fabrication. Just like the fibers in natural systems

generate multi-directional circulations displayed in a

that hold the tissues together following an inherent

hyper-linked system. The blurring between hierarchi-

geometrical wisdom, the choreography can adapt

cal construction systems of primary, secondary

to this paradigm and produce fibrous assemblages

and tertiary elements consequently results in a

via a swarm intelligence approach, utilizing an

blurring of classification of geometry, abolishing the

agent-based algorithmic design methodology. This

distinction between skin and structure, having every

method of design would explore the generation of

fiber operating structurally within a highly ornamental

ornamental, structural and spatial order based on


a bottom-up logic that operates through the selforganization of multi-agent systems. The ability of algorithmic tools to encode material agency is that which can enable both subjective design and mate-


rial constraints to be encoded. Thus, the flexibility and elasticity that were discover in PET material and its consequent structures can be embedded into


Fractal Nozzle with Multiple Extruders / Based on Shutter Technology

Shutter Mechanism Moving Nozzle Heads

External Gear / 20 Teeth

Internal Gear / 70 Teeth

Dc Motor 360 / !2 Volts

Plastic Extruders

Resistors / 240 C

Woven Structure

Diagramatic Nozzle Sequence

So far the nozzles bear one extrusion tip that, in order to complicate the structures, inextricable and time consuming g-codes had to be executed. In the scenario which suggests that one nozzle could be analyzed in an x number of tips, the extruded threads instead of mono-fibers would be compound entities that rotate, bundle and create complex configurations. These multi-threads can be combined with others to upgrade the structural resolution and work as n number of components of woven geometries. The approach carries a fractal logic that is scaless and could theoretically be applied from a level of a micro-scale of plastic fibers to a megastructure, in the sense that the same organizational rules could be applied for the components and the structure itself.

Fully Closed / Starting to Open / Almost Full Diameter / Full DIameter


Avoiding Collizions

Increasing the Complexity

Follow the Trajectory / Face Two

Plastic Extruders

Twenty One Nozzles / Face One

Printing Simultaneously / Increasing the Scale By Increasing the Complexity

Swarm Geometries 103

Multiple Extruders Choreogtaphy / Rotation - Attraction - Repulsion

Fractal Nozzles / Scaleless Variations




Swarm Geometries 111


Parasite Rain Distributor Rethinking the concept of thread architecture scaling back up to PET particles, the proposed fiber systems can be enhanced with the utilization of the special section of the created plastic pipes. As the material solidifies only in the perimeter of the tubes, the internal flakes can be vacuumed and used for other extrusions and thus living the pipe empty. The ability to create solid and rigid surfaces along with the waterproofness of plastic extend the suggested architectural approach by proposing the creation of a compound system for structural infrastructure and water circulation configured according to fibrous aesthetics. Furthermore, the project additionally to investing on post-consumer waste material develops its sustainable aspect by engaging the exploitation of natural resources as a design parameter. As an immediate expression of this vision, the Parasite comes as an architectural paragon that focuses on water consumption matters. Within the last thirty there has been a significant increase in water consumption. According to the American Water Research Foundation, this increase is a direct consequence of the western lifestyle due to household appliances like washing machines, dish washers, garden showering devices and flushing toilets that over-consume water. However, out of the 150 litters that are estimated as the average daily consumption per person, 85 litters could be replaced by rain water. Triggered by this fact, the architectural proposal concerns the creation of a thread-mesh consisting of weaved PET pipes. The structure adjusts on the existing buildings as an autonomous self-standing shell that helps distributing rain water and processing it to deal with the daily needs of the building inhabitants. The water is collected from reservoirs on the terrace, and through a hydro botanic system of gardens that are supported by the introduced pipe structure. The flowing rainfall is filtered through the irrigation system and further transmitted to the internal spaces. The captured water can be used for domestic applications and in case of surplus the tube network flows it down and stores it in containers under the building. 115

‘‘Pet Flakes II‘‘ / On Site Collection Along with the overproduction of plastic waste, there are infamous global problems directly linked with the current hyper-industrialized era. The burning of fossil fuels and other human and natural activities has released enormous amount of heat-trapping gasses into the atmosphere that have resulted in a rise of Earth’s temperature. Global warming is immediately linked to another trend. The rise of sea level is a global reality connected with factors induced by this on-going climate change. As the oceans absorb around 80% of this emitted heat get thermally expanded and simply occupy more space. High sea temperature also brings melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, a fact that contributes negatively in accelerating the process. Scientific research shows namely that sea levels worldwide have been rising with a rate of 3.5 millimeters each year since the early 90’s. When sea rises in rapid pace, even a small increase can have effects. Additionally to the environmental impacts that bring in the mainland, including soil erosions and natural habitats eradication, the oceanic swelling is expected to have serious social consequences. Hundreds of millions of people that live in low-level coastal areas such as coastlines of Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka will become increasingly vulnerable to flooding as higher sea levels would force them to abandon their dwellings and relocate. Major cities in the world like London, New York and Tokyo are also at huge risk as the ocean level could rise as much as 1 meter by the end of this century. Accommodating the extreme number of displaced residents is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. Envisioned as an ecological utopia, a floating city made from oceanic plastic waste will cater for the vast numbers of climate refugees. Architecture is redefined, introducing a new model of urbanism. Nomadic architecture is the mean to challenge and abolish the constraints that suppress and restrain the progression of life. It refers to a creative wandering that reveals multiple resources away from the existing, rigid structures. The relation between the city and its tissue is reconsidered and establish a system capable of moving and producing a new type of spatial experience. According to an architectural paradigm like this, everything starts from the purge of ocean areas by collecting the plastic that will be used as the raw material. The process of collection and fabrication can be substantiated on site with the contribution of fishing boats. The plastic waste might be collected with nets and divided into utilizable PET material and other non-utilizable plastics.


Floating City


Sensor devices equipped with x-ray or infrared sensing register a polymerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s unique signature along the spectrum and this way detect specific polymers within a mixed stream of plastic materials. Since all plastics float whatever cannot be utilized for fabrication can be exploited as floating mean to support the islands. The PET after being grinded with on-boat shredding machines is ready to supply the extrusion robots. As long as there is available material on site this cycle of collecting, dividing, grinding and supplying can go on constantly, fastening the fabrication process. The tissue of the plastic island starts to be weaved with threads, whose combination and geometrical configurations according to algorithmic design principles will create different types of spaces. Following a fluid urban planning, mobile and reconfigurable infrastructure and aquatic landscape allows flexibility and adjustability in social, urban and environmental terms. The cities are built in modular pieces so several modules can be combined and re-combined to shape new urban layouts. They can be separated and rearranged as units or thanks to their recyclable material destroyed and refabricated. The structures are fibrous and multi-layered, confronting rigid and no longer sufficient geometries. Energy matters are covered by utilizing the available natural resources while the underwater part of the plastic urban formations work as artificial corals to encourage marine life. These islands are intended to be either near the coasts or floating around the oceans according to where the Gulf Stream takes them. By taking advantage and utilizing the flooded landscape, the floating cities clean up million kilos of plastic waste from gyres around the world creating a sustainable living space. The vision of these urban formations embrace the possibility of a future in which borders and boundaries are abandoned in favour of a nomadic lifestyle among communities worldwide.


Gravity Construction Limit

Sea Level

Shifting Balance

Construction Limit

Sea Level

Rises Safely in an Archimedean Liquid Landscape 123

acqua alta


[ Audi Urban Future Award 2010 / Venice Biennale 2010 ]

Venice 2120 Coordinates : 45.434336 ° / 12.338784 ° Size : 415 km2 Population : 270 851

Water has always been predominant for the Venetian urban landscape. Its existence and development started in a lagoon, with the aquatic element playing a protective role against enemy attacks and intrusions. As an irony, what started as a mean to remain safe from external dangers turned out to be an inner threat that menaces the substance and survival of the city itself. “Aqua Alta” (high water) is a breathing hazard which imperils to change the image of Venice from a living city to underwater remnants. The phenomenon dates hundreds of years now. It is estimated that over the last 1,000 years Venice sunk approximately seven centimetres for every century, due to the natural settling of lagoon sediments and the indiscriminate pumping of freshwater from a deep aquifer beneath the city, but in the last century alone the lowering reached 24 centimetres. The 20th century brought rampant industrialization and climate shifts that made Venice sink faster in its own foundations. Despite previous studies suggesting the subsidence had levelled off, the new evidences reveal that the city continues to sink in its lagoon two

Obtained Value / 1940mm

millimetres annually, as global warming and melting of polar ice have accelerated the sinking effect. The environmental changes and their consequent results will submerge Venice up to 80mm by 2032 while according to scientists by 2100 it will be almost certainly uninhabitable. As the sea is occupying more and more space within the built tissue and the urban

1400 mm

life becomes unliveable, the population coerced by the circumstances is abandoning the city and moving

1100 mm

to the mainland turning the city from a living organism, to an urban carcass. Venice is only an instance for what is foreseeable for the world and reality as we

800 mm

know it. The possibility of a new Atlantis is no more a fictional scenario. Is there a way to insulate life when the urban tissue is in the verge of destruction? 127

Venice 2120. Acqua Alta is no longer a temporary

ants to live in balance alongside with the natural cir-

phenomenon. The flood is a permanent element of

cle and rhythms of water as well as its sudden and

the urban tissue that infested paths, built and open

extreme gushes. Solar energy supplies with power

spaces. A new city is erected from the negative of

while fishing and aquatic agriculture provide food.

the previous, a self-sustaining organism that can

Rainwater is also collected and distributed through

survive and ensure the continuity of urban viability,

the pipe threads of the mesh to cover the needs in

resisting in the levelling power of the water, able to

water for the inhabitants. The thread meshes are the

produce its own energy. Floating urban formations

basis for a new poise of environmentally responsible

for a quarter million people that can thrive with the

living, securing the continuity of urban life like arks.

ebb and flow of the constant tide allow Venice to

Architecture is used to bridge the gaps that the

live with the flooding instead of resisting it and at the

new conditions created, inventing a language that

same time return balance to the environment.

complies with the current data and needs. The

The collection of raw material was an easy mission.

flexibility and adaptability of a system like this result

As the sea swelled and infiltrated in the mainland

in a cityscape that is in a perpetual state of meta-

tons of plastics intruded and infested the water.

morphosis. Nomadic lifestyle is translated into a

The fabrication boats reach the site and gather the

nomadic landscape that rises safely in an Archime-

waste to transform it into urban tissue. According

dean Liquid environment.

to an algorithmic choreography the PET threads are weaved and bundled to provide shelter for displaced Venetians as the flood destroyed a big number of the so far living spaces. The meshes are adjusted to the existing built environment, like an immediate extension of the flooded city, so as to preserve the current way the inhabitants move, live and connect. Plastic fibre meshes serve as viaduct for the channelling of communication and services networks to the modules attached to its framework and at the same time the new plastic fabric of Venice is prepared for any aquatic fluctuations. Wave, tidal and wind energy are exploited enabling the inhabit-

PotentiallyIn Between Space

Tubular and Multi-layered Structure



Through an extensive research on matter, design and technology this project developed and proposed a novel method for fabrication of PET plastic seen under a concept of light and fibrous architecture. The approach does not only concern the aesthetical and structural potential of the material but also makes an implication about the necessity of a shift to more environmentally responsible architectural solutions. Collecting and utilizing PET thermoplastics that come directly from post-consumer waste introduces a new perspective for

This Nozzle in History

01 20.02.2012 A blowtorch combined with an Arduino board, a servo and thermosensors has been the basis for the first nozzle prototype. In order to embed automa-

tion to the process, the concept had been to control accordingly to temperature data the gas provision and thus the intensity of the fire. Under

by the rate of feeding.

mon one, a DC motor

The created plastic

a helix and a motor, held


with gears was installed

by a wooden frame for


low rotating speeds. The

extruder was based on the use of the cylinder and was enhanced with

Assessing to give preci-


sion to the process to control the outcome and sustain the integrity of the nozzle, the developed hardware was equipped


with common direct

this logic, a thermosensor

The elements of the

current (DC) motors that

was adjusted at the tip of

manual extrusion were

rotating would drive the

the nozzle that would give

accumulated to design

fiber in the heated extru-

feedback to the Arduino

the new nozzle prototype.

sion tip at a stable pace.

board, enabling to select

The effectiveness of

The faced problems,

important information

the steel tube made it a

however, remained. The

for the behavior of the

permanent part of the es-

motors rotated too fast

material in relation to the

tablished extrusion tech-

power of the blowtorch.

nology. So far, the feeding

the ShopBot. At first, the

The gas rate was cali-

with PET flakes and the

helix was casted using

brated with a set of gears

necessary pressuring-us-

plastic and then attached

rotated from the servo,

ing a piston that pushed

to its axis of rotation. The

controlled through Firefly. .

the melted material out of

helix rotated with a motor

Nevertheless, no interac-

the metal cylinder-were

that was taken from an

tion was achieved be-

done by hand. The same

old printer and functioned

tween the swivel-hence

process was reproduced

using electricity. The heat-

the calibration of the rate

mechanically. The two

ing was for the time being

of gas-and Arduino that

principles were combined

done manually using anti-

collected the temperature

in such way so that

diametrically blowtorches.


the pushing would be achieved and controlled

to push the material or were not strong enough in lower speeds. For this reason, instead of a com-

that enabled pushing sufficiently the material in the heated tip even when the motor was working in calibration of the feeding rate and the already achieved control of heating ensured the desirable structural quality to the produced prototypes.

innovation in architecture.

do with the bankruptcy of

architectural production re-

tures, able to be constantly

Instead of seeking into a list

architecture. Due to the rigid

sulted in a built environment

reformed and reshaped.

of conservative, commonly

and permanent nature of the

that is practically bailed out

In a vision of adaptation,

used or expensive newly

materials used so far, archi-

of its surroundings and yet

architecture can be a living

developed materials, the

tecture has a monumental

the same failed models

organism that follows the

project investigates the

character, while the global

continue to be reproduced.

circle of life, changing its

dynamics of waste plastics to

matters demand responsive-

Architecture is in immediate

image to efficiently serve

produce complex structures

ness and sufficiency. Along

need of extensive redefini-

the occurring needs and

by extremely minimizing the

with the crisis in matter and

tion. Against a construction

environmental stimuli.

prospective financial and

materiality, the architectural

way that overuses natural

ecological cost for fabrication

models that are followed or

and energy resources to

by combining creation with

imposed seem to neither

produce rigid and inflexible

environmental purge.

comply with the current

formations, the project

There is yet another issue

circumstances and neces-

proposes an architec-

that is directly related to the

sities nor follow the rapidly

tural method that produces

projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pursuits and has to

changing conditions. Ages of

adaptable and flexible struc-

a MakerBot plate but the

04 07.05.2012

surface of the ShopBot, abolished the limitations on the expanding extend of the produced structures. The ABS fiber was driven in a screwing coupling

05 18.05.2012

tip of 3mm diameter that The hardware development for the extrusion of plastic fiber was based on the reproduction of the MakerBot printing logic but unlike its layerby-layer deposition way and 0.5mm printing tip, the project would focus in achieving a continuous in-space thread printing using a fiber of wider diameter. The fact that the printing area was not

was heated with the help of hot wires or resistors. An Arduino board was deployed to control the temperature of the heating wires to reach and stabilize at the 230 degrees melting point. The experiments

The 4 and ½ axis nozzle

the utilization of two more


solved many of the

cams in the used nozzle,

The first axis was added to

problems concerning

the geometries either could

the wooden body of the

the potential in move-

not develop in complexity

nozzle and enabled the

ment but the capabilities

or in case this was feasible,

rotation around X while the

of the ShopBot were

the time needed was

second was closer to the

limiting the range of pos-


tip and allowed rotating

sible structures. As the

managed to synchronize

straight lines to spiral

the parameters of trajec-

curves, changing each

between the fibers.

in X, Y, Z axes and despite

range of possible structural

eradicated constraints and

were tested varying from

and achieve connection

CNC machine that moves

These new axial rotations

trials, a range of shapes

complex configurations

could not be achieved in a


in movement. During the

to try free form, more

moreover it widened the


motion in multiple axes. This

substantiated in both axes

so as to ensure precision

used manually in space,

matters of proximity but

required a synchronized

the movement could be

straight to the ShopBot

The nozzle was also

nozzle not only eased


tion to the new cams and

The nozzle was tested

constraints of the method.

The new structure of the

more complicated, they

Arduino boards gave mo-

produce the geometries.

to explore the design

deformed or destructed.

geometries were getting

and gears controlled by

single fiber of 3mm to

and angle increment

geometries from being

around Y axis. Servos

started with extruding a

time parameters like height

protect the extruded

tory and proximity. The The problem with the

nozzle could follow the

trajectory and vector of

geometrical codes with

extrusion was solved

much higher accuracy

when the nozzle was

without distorting the final

reconfigured by setting


two more axes of rotation in its body. This would ensure that the nozzle would have a higher moving leeway and


Making Off 135



Profile for Pet Flakes the Project

Pet Flakes / Plastic Architecture  

Emergent ecological problems require a different approach as far as the architectural practice is concerned. Due to the current hazardous st...

Pet Flakes / Plastic Architecture  

Emergent ecological problems require a different approach as far as the architectural practice is concerned. Due to the current hazardous st...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded