What have you made?
The 18V DC Motor, gearbox and plunger system were taken from the original Ryobi caulking gun and rewired to external control box. The box consisted of an Arduino Uno, a potentiometer, mosfet and a 3way 6pin toggle switch; this allowed the caulking gun to extrude at different speeds as well as reverse the plunger by reversing the current. The extruder and ABB Robot operated as two separate systems where the control box controlled the extruder and the ABB robot had its own controller system. With the motorized caulking gun attached to the ABB robot, we were able to print individual components of the clay facade, which was later attached and assembled together.
What gave you the initial inspiration?
Our inspiration of this project was heavily influenced by our explorations and process. We were given the opportunity to do anything with the ABB robot arm. Our initial explorations with the robot was extruding salt dough, PLA, foam, and clay. Clay was chosen as our optimal medium because of its material properties and long history in architecture. Interested in the idea of prototyping, customization and mass production, our project naturally evolved to be a 3d printed clay facade.
We were given the opportunity to do anything with the ABB robot arm and as architecture students we have always been interested in the control and design of light. Since the nature of the robot allowed for the ultimate customization, we wanted to see to what extent can we challenge the fabrication process in optimizing light within a space.
What is the original idea behind this project?
The original idea behind this project was to investigate the implications of additive manufacturing in architecture. Our research and explorations in material and design led us to a modular porous facade system and we wanted to see to what extent can we challenge the fabrication process in optimizing light within a space.
How does it work?
- The porcelain CV90 clay is wedged to eliminate all air bubbles and loaded into a canister (made of pvc pipes and industrial nozzles
- The canister is then loaded onto the extruder that is already attached to the robot arm
- The arduino is hooked up to the computer and connected to a battery
- The robot code for a single module (generated from Grasshopper plug-in on Rhinoceros) is loaded onto the Robot’s controller and the printing begins.
- As the robot draws out the path of the module, the potentiometer wired to the control box and extruder allowed us to control the rate of extrusion
- After a print is complete the next canister is loaded, some prints required two canisters to print the whole module.This process was repeated over 90 times to produce the prototype facade.
The clay modules are then airdried until “bone dry” and sent to the kiln to be fired. In the prototype it is attached onto a laser cut steel frame, but we imagine the method of attachment and assembly could vary based on the building.
How long did it take to make it real?
The whole process from building an extruder, designing the facade, and producing a prototype and scaled model was approximately 2 months.
How did you build it?
ABB IRB 120 robot arm, Ryobi caulking gun
Arduino Uno, Potentiometer, Capacitors, Toggle Switch, Mosfet
CV90 (Mixture of sand and porcelain)
Clay, Steel frame
Scaled model of the MIT Media Lab:
Wood, 3D printed facade (ABS Plastic)