Robotic zip-bending of wood structures with programmable curvature

Roberto Naboni*, Anja Kunic, Dario Marino, Hamed Hajikarimian


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Standard wood bending approachesrely either on heavy industrial processes optimized for repeatability or on crafting techniques that are mostly intended for the production of small-scale products. Contemporary research focuses on digital fabrication methods to overcome geometrical limitations and automate freeform wood construction without the need for highly specialized craftsmanship. The presented research focuses on robotic zip-bending to achieve custom curved wood elements with structural properties. The technique uses kerfing patterns applied to two layers of planar wood elements to achieve a zipped composite with precomputed bending and twisting behaviour. The article describes the entire workflow from initial material studies to the realization of a robotically-made 1:1 structural installation. The involved methods, such as mechanical testing, geometrical form-finding, structural FEA simulation, CNC robot programming, and 3D scanning, are described with extensive qualitative analysis and quantitative data. The work demonstrates robotic zip-bending’s structural and geometrical capabilities for prospective applications in the construction industry, including suggestions for future research developments.
TidsskriftArchitecture, Structures and Construction
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)63–82
StatusUdgivet - maj 2022


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