An exploration of stereotomic form-finding strategies utilizing 3D printing and robotic hot wire cutting
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The limits of design can now be exponentially explored due to various software and technology available. Specifically applied to stereotomic design, the goal was to explore form-finding strategies utilizing 3D printing and Robotic Hot Wire Cutting (RHWC). In the past, stones had to be quarried and finished by hand with limited tools and resources. In the past 45 to 50 years, machines to cut stone into unique shapes have been developed and utilized, namely Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and circular saw blades. When compared to previous methods, these seem to present great opportunities and advantages. However, they still fall short in terms of material waste and excessive fabrication time. 3D printing and RHWC allows designers to investigate stereotomic stone forms and further optimize these shapes accurately and quickly while minimizing the loss of material. Utilizing the weight of stone and analyzing the flow of forces within a form, mortar is not required for the form to maintain its structural integrity without failure. To prototype the stone structures, 3D printing is applied for initial studies and validation of the structure. Robotic hot wire cutting is applied for 1:1 scale prototypes and as a representation of stone pieces with an alternative material of foam.