Robotic Force Printing: Bending Shell | Experiments in Pedagogy

Over the course of three weeks, participants from both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tongji University work together to design, develop and build two full-scale robotically manufactured shell structures in Shanghai, developing hands-on skills to integrate programming, structural design exploration, digital fabrication, and robotic assembly. The workshop explores novel shell structures leveraging advances in additive manufacturing and robotic fabrication, equilibrium-based methods of structural design and assembly, and the design opportunities enabled by their integration. 

After an initial team based competition and brainstorming phase, two clear directions were formed, a spiralling shell structure that explored doubly curved and creased patterning across large 3D printed flat sheets, and a bridge structure that relied on corrugating ruled 3D printed surfaces to achieve structural depth. Through structural analysis using the COMPAS platform, half and full scale material testing with industrial robotic extruders and performance simulations in Abaqus, both structures were constructed 1:1 in the final days of the workshop with support from fabrication staff at FabUnion.


Part of the Fall 2018 Experiments in Pedagogy

Joint workshop, MIT Architecture, ETH Block Research Group, Tongji University

Philippe Block (ETH Zurich)
Philip F. Yuan (Tongji University)

Teaching Assistants:
Zain Karsan (MIT)
Gene Ting-Chun Kao (ETH)
Kam-Ming Mark Tam (ETH, MIT MEng) 
Ziang Wang (Tongji)
Liming Zhang (Tongji)
Hua Chai (Tongji) 


MIT Architecture:
Alexandre Beaudouin-Mackay
Ben Hoyle
Dalma Foldesi
Hyerin Lee
Molly Mason
Jung In Seo
Anna Vasileiou

Tongji University:
Weizhe Gao
Zhe Gao
Ce Li
Youyuan Luo
Junbang Su
Xiao Zhang
Weiran Zhu