As the complexity of the tools that we design and fabricate with increases, there is a need to teach students about the potentials and limitations of these tools. Students who have advanced skills in computational design and understand the latest fabrication techniques such as 3D printing, CNC fabrication and robotic fabrication are in demand in the industry as they are thought to bring this knowledge to firms. However, the use of these tools depends on applied knowledge which students struggle to attain within the limited time of their education. Engaging with these tools requires access to extensive resources (project funding, facilities and equipment), time (design, research development and skill building) and expert supervision / instruction. In addition, to understand the capabilities of the systems well, students must engage with them through applied research projects. This paper presents the intensive robotic fabrication workshop as a tool to give a larger audience of students a targeted experiential learning opportunity to accelerate their skill building development in advanced computational design and fabrication. The intention is to bridge the knowledge gap between the conception of a design idea, the new CAD/CAM processes of making, and their potential implementation in practice. These are unique hands-on learning opportunities that increase the fluency of the students in these advanced media. Where normally students would not be able to engage with advanced robotic fabrication methodologies and outcomes until late in a graduate degree, this allows a broader range of students to participate in the late-stage processes of design, output, fabrication, construction scheduling, staging, planning and completion. The workshops are completed in five days and result in full-scale timber-structure demonstrator prototypes.
AnnaLisa Meyboom is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of British Columbia. Her area of expertise is the integrated design of engineering and architecture. She holds a degree in engineering from the University of Waterloo and a Masters in architecture from the University of British Columbia. Her areas of research include advanced design technologies and robotics in wood design and fabrication as well as future technologies in infrastructure.
David Correa’s research looks at biological structures and processes as a source of insight for the development of new fabrication processes and advanced materials. The research aims at implementing state of the art digital fabrication tools (robotic manipulators, 3D printers and CNC milling) to develop innovative and high-performance design solutions for industrial and architectural applications. David is an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo and a Design Partner at LLLab, an experimental design collaboration based in Shanghai. David is also completing a Doctorate in Engineering at the Institute for Computational Design and Construction (ICD) at the University of Stuttgart