CAAD.HBT.ETHZ.CH . MAS0607 . CNCFabrictaion

ETH Zuerich - Startseite
Professur für CAAD


caad d-arch

Master of Advanced Studies in Architecture, Specialization in Computer Aided Architectural Design | 065-0005/6
Supervision: Prof. Dr. Ludger Hovestadt, Philipp Schaerer
Chair of CAAD, ETH Zurich

MODULE 03: CNC-Fabrication
Supervision: If Ebnöther, David Sekanina


Over the past fifteen years, computer-aided design has dramatically changed the development and fabrication cycle in most design industries. In the large design based professions outside of architecture, (aerospace, auto, shipbuilding, industrial design?) computer aided manufacturing (CAM) has evolved alongside CAD as the principal method of transferring a design from digital into a physical reality.

Recent changes in affordability and availability of computing power, complex modeling software, and facilities for CAM have made this technology available to architects and the greater design industry. This changes the current typical production cycle, from the distinction between design and fabrication, to a process where the designer is also intrinsically involved in the manufacturing of the components for the assembly of the whole.

There are a number of different forms of automated fabrication based on either 2d cutting of materials, or three dimensional methods of solid or surface form creation. There are two basic processes of 3d fabrication, additive and reductive. Additive processes, sometimes referred to as ?rapid prototyping? construct a model by building-up its geometry based on sectional layering of material, the smaller the layer thickness - the greater the precision of the model. Reductive fabrication is the opposite; it begins with a solid block of material and carves off the excess to reveal the designed form. In this course we will primarily focus on the reductive technology of CNC milling.

The focus of study is the aesthetic, technical, and tectonic potentials of three-dimensional surface topology in architecture, based on the combination of digital modeling, scripting or programming, and computer numerically controlled (CNC) manufacturing. The module will be run as a product development studio, where the methodology and design decisions are as important as the final produced piece. Experimentation and the design cycle are an integral part of the working methodology, and the results of all trials should be documented. The seminar will be conducted as both an experimental design project, and as a skill-building tutorial.

Deadlines and Schedule

Module Start: 10.01.2006; 2 pm
Final Presentation: 15.02.2007: 2 pm
Check out the MAS 2006-07 Calendar: the page about deadlines, meetings and locations. It's the permanently moderated list and central infobase.


Revision r1 - 03 Jan 2007 - 15:02 - PhilippSchaerer
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