Hex is a modular unit that is pieced together to create a structural system. It is composed of wood and was created through robotic steam bending, as can be seen in the video below.
Contemporary architectural practice is a constant state of techno-flux. The means and methods of contemporary architectural production face mounting ecological imperatives. Hex explores the resourcefulness of wood construction through robotically assisted fabrication. In particular, we investigated robotic steam bending, where a robot’s ability to shape custom framing members and assemble unique parts, is leveraged to construct complex material arrays.
Hex was inspired by the act of "weaving" fabric. We started our design by weaving different types of geometries in order to reach the optimal shape for our unit to array, and for the robot to bend and weave. We wanted to create a singular unit that can act modular and array infinitely in order to create a strong structural system.
We found the optimal shape for our basic unit to be a piece with a slit that stretches 2/3 of the way across the wood. From there, we started weaving the unit to create a final 3-piece system that acted as our module.
Robotic Steam Bending
After finishing up prototyping, I built the geometry using Rhino and Grasshopper and proceeded to code the path the robot will take to bend the wood in an arc-like fashion. My partners constructed a system in which to hold the steamed wooden piece in place before and after bending. They also created the claw for the robot that will push down and bend the wooden piece.