CAD/CAM: Introduction to Applications in Architecture

CAD/CAMIntroduction to Applications in ArchitectureCourse DescriptionComputer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) techniques have widely pervaded fabrication environments for the production of architecture. Knowledge of this technology now has become part of the basic skills that design professionals need to possess in order to practice successfully. This seminar introduces students to the fundamentals of CAD/CAM, with a particular focus on applications in architecture, and with reference to product design and related industries. Fundamental principles and technologies are taught through a combination of lectures, labs and hands-on workshops. Field trips to local manufacturers provide a real-world exposure to the implementation challenges of cad/cam technologies in the professional context.This year a particular focus is placed on understanding the conditions for the design and production of varied components and products. The need for repetition of identical elements has limited architectural design since the introduction of industrially produced products and components. The building industry remains largely geared towards the repeated use of identical elements – both for the sake of economy in design as well as in fabrication and installation.Recently the term \”mass-customization\” has been extensively used to describe this new paradigm of varied production. The course will look critically at the challenge of customization in the context of the design and production of architecture and of products, and explore these questions through the assignments and readings. The lectures introduce students to the principles of parametric digital modeling, numerically-controlled machines, basic manufacturing processes as well as prototyping techniques reverse engineering and building systems. The lectures are accompanied by software tutorials, machine demos, and lab sessions that introduce both the digital as well as computer-numerically controlled fabrication environments. This course uses the GSD\’s extensive computer-numerically controlled (CNC) fabrication facilities, as well as the traditional wood- and metal shop. Students are expected to immerse themselves in the software applications needed to generate parametric models (using so-called design development environments such as SolidWorks or Digital Project) and the machine instructions necessary to operate CNC machines (MasterCAM). Particular focus this year will be an introduction to working with the newly installed robotic waterjet and with the CNC knee mill. Use of the laser cutters and the 3D printers (rapid prototyping) will be expected as well. In order to address real-world issues of fabrication we will concentrate on the use of metal in the fabrication projects.Course TopicsDesign Development Environments and Parametric Modeling: The digital models used in CAD/CAM applications differ significantly from those commonly used in architectural practice. The course leaves students a choice of one of two design development environments – SolidWorks or the Catia-based Digital Project. Both environments provide good insights into the principles of dimensionally-driven models part and assembly models, constraints, patterns, design tables and other advanced digital techniques. Practical exercises will be supplemented with a sound theoretical basis.Computer-Numerical Control and Manufacturing Processes: Computer-based control of machine environments has had varying effects on the way things are made. All machine actions have to be anticipated and planned, since the machine is unable to adjust to conditions other than those that were originally anticipated. The principles of computer-numerical control are discussed in general terms as well as process-specifically. Students are introduced to the basics of toolpath creation using MasterCam.The course provides an overview over fundamental processes