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Typology: Digital Tectonics – Fabrication Ecologies Status: realised Location: Barcelona Year: 2013 Research Center: Institute of Advanced A… Read More
Typology: Digital Tectonics – Fabrication Ecologies Status: realised Location: Barcelona Year: 2013 Research Center: Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalunya Design Team: Marisa Charusilawong / Drew Carson/ Vincent Huyghe/Iker Luna Read Less
Seeking to harden the fibers in their place within the weaving jigs, we ex- plored options that could create rigid fibers. The rigidity of fibers was instrumental in creating a component with fibers oriented for structural purposes.
Our first research in creating wire to wire connections was through a form finding test using simple glue and hairspray. This experiment was focused to- wards understanding how the material characteristics changed when impregnated by these two glues.
While understanding the existing and changing characteristics within the material, we also wanted to understand how an integrated tooling process could eliminate the fragmentation of our patterns once they left the jig. The wire to wire connection was such an important issue that we wanted to continue to researching about it. Creating an experiment that was based solely on how glue impregnated wires would organize and adhere to themselves was the best way to understand how this integral methodology can be generated. 
Hemp Loom Tool 2 
Utilizing our new tool with a rubber emersion reservoir, we sought to explore the constraints of our new fabrication process and further understand how segmenting our branches can create an ease of fabricating the total system. The main addition that made the segmentation possible was the rubber emersion reservoir, this reservoir creates a bond between fibers eliminating the need for external connections to be placed within our components. Creating a tool that eliminated external connections was the main motivation in redevelopment of the Hemp Loom tool. In previous experiments, the first tool we developed worked well, but over time its alignment became less accurate and the forces of the robot were too much for it to handle. Seeking to remove any moments in the tool that would give way when extended use occurred we created a simplified tool with more integrated systems that would allow us to do more with less. 
Here we see an exploded axonometric drawing of the redesigned tool. Re- moving any possibility of the tool losing its accurateness we integrated all components of the tool along one surface. Mounting the most heavy element of our tool, the hemp fiber spool, directly opposite of the robot arm’s connection with the tool adds more structural integrity to the set-up. Also present is an emersion reservoir for the fiber to be strung through and can be impregnated with any sort of liquid we find interest in. Finally the fiber threads through a nozzle to be able to provide a precise position for the fiber to be laid into jigs for the component creating process. While the tool works close to a singularity in the robot’s motion, the robust tool provides a more finite and accurate fabrication capability. 
Following the logic of fiber distribution within plants, the hemp fiber is distributed around the nodes thus creating a cellular structure. This cellular structure, along with natural rub- ber emersion, creates a compo- nent that becomes rigid, but has the ability to deform and retain original shape.
Primary tool paths shown in red, outline the compo- nent, creating its overall shape and organization. Green lines illustrate the branches diagram- matic form. Black tool paths show a cross-bracing organiza- tion of fiber that helps the com- ponent retain its shape when de- formation forces are present. 
Refining our fabrication logic down to four branches and an structural integration between jig, weaving, and final suspension, we have achieved a direction suitable for large scale installations. Reproducing different forms is as easy as plugging the anchor or suspension points into the code we created and exporting the branches to be fabricated.
The fabrication protocols call for u-clamps to be utilized in the weaving nodes within the jig. The branch components themselves have evolved so that they retain shape even through deformation. Primary and secondary paths delineate what fibers are structural load bearing while others hold the shape of the component through warping forces. Deformation plays a large role in plant growth. Plants work well within their extremes, this ability to deform, while still retain their original shape pushed us in the direction of creating an inner structure that kept the branches taunt, but when loaded with weight it would deform, rather than the structural branches themselves.