Parametric Folding


As part of the semester-long seminar course “Parametric Constructions”, students explored various parametric design methods and digital fabrication techniques through a series of full scale constructs produced in groups of two or three students while working in a collaborative effort with local industry partners. Entitled Parametric Folding, this project consisted of laser cut aluminum panels with a customized patterning and custom bent angles and hardware.
The success of this project was contingent on the collaborative effort between the three student designers and a local metal fabricator, Midwest Metals. Through out the design process, digital files were produced based on the requirements set by the manufacturer that were used to directly control the laser cutter. The production of full-scale prototypes was essential to the development of this project—three full-scale study models were made to test and explore connection methods for the various system components. The project, itself, consisted of triangulated aluminum plates that were ornamented with perforation patterns. The students scripted a software plug-in to generate these patterns based on parameters of density, spacing, and size. These patterns had to be adjusted over several iterations to achieve the desired trade-off of pattern complexity versus production time constraints. Via the script, these adjustments occurred rapidly—small, numerical adjustments in the input parameters resulted in large qualitative effects of the resulting patterns until an economically and aesthetically “fit” solution was found.

Parametric Folding Team:
Sarah Hockmeyer, Dominic Gallegos, Jonathon Noble

Kevin Klinger, Branko Kolarevic

Parametric Folding was generously supported by our Industry Partner, Midwest Metals, with $1000 in materials and fabrication time.



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