madMeshMaker:: update

by Madeline Gannon @ 7:43 am 13 April 2011

madMeshMaker Workshop | 4.10.2011

This past Sunday I held a workshop to introduce digital fabrication techniques and technologies to 20 of Carnegie Mellon University’s freshman architecture students. Each was given a 12″x18″x2″ foam plot to experiment with the mesh forms developed with the madMeshMaker , and their resulting digital models were then milled together from a 4’x8’x2″ sheet of foam with the CNC Router. The students are now post-processing their foam meshes to (1) refine the resulting foam mesh and (2) learn other fabrication techniques related to milling processes (vacuum-forming, casting, etc.) More documentation to come…

“The madMeshMaker is a generative surface modeling environment, intended to be an intuitive and fun introduction to fabrication with computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) table routers. CNC routers have become a staple of institutions related to digital design and manufacturing for their ability to rapidly fabricate models, furniture, interior systems, and other prototypical assemblages. However, because of the inherent 3D-modeling knowledge needed to both virtually and physically design, the machinery still remains an ‘advanced topic’ in academic curriculum. The madMeshMaker dissolves this notion, allowing any novice to digital technologies to easily create a virtual model embedded with the information necessary to communicate with a CNC router.

The application is intended to be distributed to freshmen architecture/design/art students, allowing them to rapidly explore and experiment with integrated digital design/fabrication technologies. With the madMeshMaker lowering the barriers-of-use, students are able to experiment more freely with the limits of what the fabrication technology can and cannot do … getting them to explore a surface through various materials, toolpaths, toolbit profiles, etc. By incorporating the application as a pedagogical tool in the beginning stages of their formal education, the goal of the madMeshMaker is to enable future designers to push beyond the conventional uses of the technology, and cultivate novel methods of design and production.

The workshop deliverables include thoughtful documentation of your process and experience through annotated photographs and video, high quality images of the final product(s), and the completion of a user-survey and the beginning and end of the workshop.”

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