Conference paper Open Access

Unitless: Modeling and fabricating objects without measuring tools

Leen, Danny; Lambaerts, Marc

Digital fabrication allows users to fabricate objects without the need of measuring. However, designing digital 3D objects is generally done using callipers, rulers, protractors and other physical measurement tools. By translating physical dimensions to a digital design, it is possible that errors occur. Where traditional crafts, for example can make precise woodworking joinery by constantly checking and adjusting the progress of the joint, in a digital fabrication process it is not feasible to make adjustments during fabrication. Therefore, the designer needs to iterate over completed parts, this shifts the problem from making adjustments in the process (e.g. crafts) to making adjustments in the digital design. In this paper we describe two novel methods on how users can design and fabricate objects without measuring using digital fabrication. First, we present 'Strutmodeling', that allows users to design objects using struts that connect to magnetic hubs, allowing the user to build objects in physical space. The struts are automatically tracked in a digital environment where the object can be exported for digital fabrication. Secondly, we present a work in progress: 'Hand held fabrication', an end-to-end fabrication process that combines digital fabrication and hand-held tools. We constructed a digital environment to design woodworking joinery, that automatically generates custom jigs to allow users to fabricate the designed object using hand held tools without measuring.

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