Thursday, September 4, 2014

My Digitally Fabricated World

By: Don Olsen



My Digitally Fabricated World
Issue: 1- An introduction
As an introduction, for those of you that don’t know me, my name is Don and I’ve been here at SIU since I transferred as a sophomore. During that time I’ve spent three of those years working at the School of Architecture’s Digital Fabrication Lab. Even in my first experiences with the lab, I realized that I was completely intrigued by the idea of fabrication and the capabilities that it held. I find that I am constantly looking into new fabrication methods and people who are pushing the current technology. With this blog I would like to pass that information on, to inform others who might not be as “addicted” to these technologies and the new waves of innovation headed our way.
Firstly, lets define digital fabrication for those who might not be as familiar with the terms. Digital fabrication is defined as a computer-aided processes that manipulates material through subtractive or additive methods. These processes can be broken down into two groups: computer numerical controlled (CNC) processes and rapid prototyping (RP) processes. In terms of SIU’s DFL, these processes run through our laser cutters, 3D printers, and CNC. During my time as a lab assist, for the greater part of the school year, we see a large variety of architecture building and site models, but I always enjoyed the Christmas season because that’s when you would see the architecture students building non typical architectural things. Though everything that gets cuts during this season may not be entirely architectural in nature the process that it takes to produce something ventures into disciplines related to graphic design, art, and architecture.
Today the world is at a stage of new discovery and innovation based on digital fabrication. There are companies developing 3d printed organs, foods, homes, and weapons; using materials such as plastic, sand, protein and even moon rocks. In Canada there are already caf├ęs where you can get a cup of coffee whilst laser cutting your hearts desires right at your table. Entire new businesses predicated on people’s aspirations to try their hands at rapid prototyping. There are even companies developing fully CNC produced homes that require just a few hours to put together. These are all the different topics I will try and cover as this blog progresses. Now just as a preview of next time, I will be discussing a 3D printer that utilized solar power and sand as a medium to 3D print glass in the middle of the desert and how this research is being retrofitted for the moon. 
This is Markus Kayser an Industrial Designer using his Solar Sinter which functions as a 3D Printer of glass.


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