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Alexander Ould Tanya Sriboonmak Wei Chern Soon Module 3 - Fabrication

Semester 2/2013

Group 6

ideation: MATERIAL SYSTEM (THE SLINKY) Properties of the slinky

01. Consists of sections of circular geometry stacked upon one another

02. Consists of repetitve properties

03. Can be compressed into a small, flat single piecematter

Throughout the process of designing of the second skin, the properties of the slinky were always kept in mind, that is consisting of repetitive sections, and the dynamic movement of the slinky compressing and expanding.

04. When extended, still consists of sections of compression and extension This forms the basis of our design, following the material system of a slinky, which is section and profiling.

ideation: CONCEPT OF PERSONAL SPACE What is Personal Space? In the reading Personal Space: Behavioural of Design Basis by Robert Summer, personal space is defined as the invisible boundaries around a person which has specific distance and differs from one person to another. The emotions evoked by the invasion of others into one’s personal space differs depending on the type of person invading or intruding the space. To explore the concept of personal space, the personal space of a dancer was adopted. An exploration of the movements of the dancer was analysed to investigate how the personal space around the dancer changes with every movement. The two specific actions circled were selected to be further explored in terms of the personal space surrounding the dancer.

Second skin: functions to complement the movements of the dancer Personal space: the effects of the personal space is exihibited and exagerrated by the usage of lighting and shadow casted by the second skin as it moves along with the body of the dancer

Digital Weave by Lisa Iwamoto (2004)


The Digital Weave by Lisa Iwamoto shown in the reading Digital Fabrications: Architectural and Material Techniques was most inspiring because it is collapsible and expandable which fits how the material system of the slinky works and how we want to show the expansion and compression of the personal space of a person. Furthermore, the flexibility of this structure which can be installed and de-installed on site in a matter of hours is also what we need for the second skin so that it is easy to carry around and will not obstruct the movements of the person wearing it. Therefore, from this precedent, the method of making a collapsible and expandable model with sections of repetitive geometry is obtained.

design: DESIGN DEVELOPMENT From Initial to Final The design is meant to go under the arms with hinge joints at the centre of the design which is the elbow part so that when the elbow moves, the design moves as well. Light and shadow effects is employed by putting lights in each of the interior sections. The shadow casted by each interior is expected to be different due to the angle of lighting and the placement of the vertical pieces where different orientations of each will obstruct different amounts of light. Figures 1 and 2 show the extent to which the lights will pass through. FIGURE 1

Figure 3 shows how the design is going to be attached to the body as modelled in Rhino.



This design proposed is derived from the forms and geometry of the slinky.

This design uses the concept from the precedent studies of being able to collapse and expand.

And, following the material system of a slinky, longitudinal sections are produced along the outer surface of the design structure (Figure 1).

When it collapses the personal space is enclosed within and reamins connected to the body and when it expands and opens up, the personal space extends outwards similar to the concept that we have developed from the dancer.

Figure 2 shows how the design structure is going to be attached to the body.

Then, similarly, light and shadow effects is used to exagerrate these effects of expansion and contraction of the personal space boundaries.

design: PROTOTYPE ONE The first prototype produced testing our design idea was found to be too rigid as well as having no dynamic. Whilst the appearance relates to the slinky, the effects the design produced were minimal in terms of testing light and shadow. The material used to create it (plywood) was also found to be unsuccessful as it stopped the prototype from creating any dynamic effects, hence it didn’t fit the criteria of second skin as it did not attach to the body and did not move freely with the body. As for the prototype produced for the same design but using ivory paper, it was discovered that not only does it not have any dynamic effects but it also lacks stability and is very fragile.


Material used: Paper and acetate When pulling force is exerted to the sides, the structure expands and stretches outwards and upwards. When the force is released, the structure collapses into a flat form.

The thiness of paper and the flexibility of the acetate allows the structure to compress and expands easily whilst having a bouncy/springy feeling similar to that of a slinky.

The way the acetate is attached to the flat triangular panels has to be refined further. This is because the stapler allows the acetate to be attached more firmly in comparison to glue, but it is not aesthetically appealing to the eye.

The vertex of the series of triangle panels are attached together by strings so that it acts as the centre of expansion for the structure.

design: PROTOTYPE THREE This prototype was created to test the movements of the second skin. This time, boxboard was used as it had a 1mm thickness which was thought to provide more stability to the design structure but still enable some degree of flexibility. However, whilst construction was being undertaken, it was discovered that the boxboard did not compress as well as we thought it would when designing it in Rhino. The more panels we added to it, the less flexible the structure became. One reason for this was because of the thickness of the material and the way we had stacked the layers, the end points of each panel did not meet. This causes the structure to be unable to expand as it is restricted by the bottom panels.

design: PROTOTYPE FOUR This prototype was refined from the previous prototype so that all the tips of the panels would meet. It was also created in a larger scale (1:1) and rather than compressing on the sides like the previous prototype, it had flaps cut into each of the panels (on the sides and in the middle) that would join up in the middle between two panels and therefore allow the design to compress and expand. This was found to be a success. Furthermore, when light is shined through the space between the panels in its extended form, it was found that it forms shadow with repetitive squares of different dimensions similar to the properties of the slinky analysed in Module 1. Another conclusion reached was that boxboard was not visually appealing so the material used to create our final design was a mixture of ivory card and cardboard, where the cardboard enforces stability and the ivory card enforces flexibility.


In the first design, the triangles are stacked directly upon one another. This means each of the triangle panels align exactly from top to bottom.

In the second design, the triangles are stacked at an angle from one another on top of one another. Through this, it is hoped that the little difference of orientation of the triangles will cast a shadow effects when light is shine towards the corners of the triangles.

To allow for the design to be able to be compressed and expand thus exhibiting dynamic effects as it moves along with the movement of the arms, the triangle panels are connected to one another by cutting out flaps from each of the large triangles and connect the flaps together at the centre. This also produce effects mentioned in the lecture on design effects - Interference effect, when light is shined through it. This allows the design structure to expands with the flaps stretching outwardsl. For compression of the structure, the flaps will fold back into the intial holes where it is cut out from.

design: FINAL DESIGN DIGITISATION PROCESS Firstly, a triangle and the flaps on each of the triangle panels are drawn using polygon and line segments command.

The flaps produced externally are then moved to the trimmed holes on the triangular panels.

Then, planar surface command is used to produce a surface. The flaps’ surface are then trimmed.

Mirror command is used to produce the flaps on the opposite isde of the triangle.

From the curves of the flaps, the flaps are produced externally. Rotate3D command is used to rotate the flaps to the angle that we wanted to show the extension of the flaps when the second skin is extended.

For the centre triangular bits, similar method is adopted to produce the flaps, i.e. using rotate3D and mirror commands.

design: FINAL DESIGN DIGITISATION PROCESS Combining the two triangular panels together using the rotate3D command and ensuring that the tip is connected to the same point using oSnap End Point. The same process is repeated to produce 10 triangular panels so that it expands from the waist to sholder hieght.

design: FINAL DIGITAL MODEL The final second skin model is attached underneath the arms so that when the arms are not opened the series of triangular panels will stack upon one another and the second skin is compressed. When the arms are opened as shown in the image, the whole second skin structure follows the movement of the arm and expands upwards and outwards. By employing lighting effects and the shadow casted by the second skin as explored in prototype four, personal space can be expressed, i.e. when the arms are closed, the lights are dim and directed inwards into the body and downwards whereas when the arms are opened, the second skin stretches and the lights attached to the second skin shines outwards thus expanding the personal space of the person.

fabrication: DIGITAL FABRICATION The template is sent to the fablab for cutting using the card cutter. The second skin model uses a total of 5 pieces of both cardboard and ivory paper mixed. Q: Briefly outline the various digital fabrication processes. Explain how you use digital fabrication in your design? Although the digital modelling process in Rhino is time consuming, however, with digital fabrication, not only does it reduce the time needed to cut each of the triangles since it is a repetitive structure, it also produce a more flawless and straight cutting edge compared to cutting it manually. Even if there is no card cutter, the printing of the template also ensure that each of the flaps are at the same angle and distance from one another. If this were to be drawn manually, there are bound to be flaps which are out of orientation or mistakes of cutting resulting in a waste of material. Therefore, digital modelling and fabrication proves to be a



Figure above shows how the second skin can be attached to the body without it falling down and is self-suportive agaisnt the body, Connections to the body are done by using velcro.

Fkgure above shows how the second skin compress when the arms are closed

Fkgure above shows how the second skin moves in relation with the arm.


reflections: MODULE 3 (LECTURES & READINGS) Lectures Reflection The lecture on The Power of Making was very inspiring in the process of fabricating the final second skin model. “Making is also an active way of thinking,something which can be carried out with no particular goal in mind. In fact, this is a situation where ]innovation is very likely to occur.” - Daniel Charny This quote is very important to us because firstly, by prototyping different ways of making the second skin, we were able to test the effectiveness of the designs. Also, for example, the progress from prototype three to prototype four was inspired whilst making the model for prototype three. Therefore, for us, making is a method of drawing inspiration for design ideas which is highlighted in Daniel Charny’s quote mentioned in the lecture. Besides, the lecture given by the two guest lecturers was very informative as well, especially the one given by the visual artist. It is interesting to note how all his designs are not limited to one area of expertise, but uses all the skills that he had acquired throughout his learning journey, This is something that we should learn, that is to use the skills that we had learnt before and adopt it into our design ideas. In addition, he also mentioned about making do with what he had. I think this is very relevant to us because as students we do not have a big budget and thus we have to think of ways of creating something interesting while maintaining a low budget.

Reading 2: Digital fabrications: architectural and material techniques / Lisa Iwamoto. New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2009. The most interesting ideas that we got out of the readings is that there is always a gap between drawings, be it manually drawn or digitally modelled designs, and the function of the actual model. It is therefore important to model or prototype your design ideas in order to test its effectiveness. With the help of digital technolgy, it is now easier to model designing ideas as it is not as time consuming anymore as the design structure can be fabricated using digital fabrication as long as it is modelled in some CAD software, or in our case Rhino. However, by relying on digital fabrication, it is at times limiting the boundaries of our design ideas due to the limited skills in computer modelling software. As a result, we have to modify our design ideas so that it is possible to model it in Rhino and laying it out to be cut by the CNC Card Cutter.


Virtual Environments University of Melbourne Year 1

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