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Re-Imagining Wood Challenge


  • Creator
  • #2351

    Bennett Scorcia

    Involute is a continuing research project that leverages the natural morphologies of

    wood derived from internal material capacities and antistropic and hydroscopic

    behaviors. The computational morphogenesis would be situated on the

    interrelationships between wood as a natural material, manufacturing constraints, and

    logics of assembly. Our localized approach to wood bending interlinked with a global

    assembly system creates a 3D structural matrix of natural wood.
    This continuing research focuses on the development of material research, morphogenetic computation, and emerging manufacturing methods. The result is a completely unique technological system of production, starting from generated geometry and ending with a process of manufacturing which utilizes a fixed bending iron bolted to the ground and  6-axis robot. Studying the material and the process of bending using a bending iron yielded  specific procedures of generating a 3D framework of line, procedures for  analyzingthe generating geometry and procedures for generating code to run the robotic operations.By generating a feedback loop with the information gathered from a network of  lines into robotic operations. This opens the capability of manufacturing a variable component structural system without producing molds. We manufacture a variable component that starts from straight strips and morph into their bent form.

    Bending guitar sides on a hot pipe is the most dramatic and challenging of all instrument-making techniques. All your senses come into play in the “dance” in front of the bending iron. The sweetest thing about hot iron bending is it allows us to get rid of molds, which limit the form and the varieties we can develop. Also, hot iron bending prepares us a lot of time to develop the form, while steam bending needs to configure the shape in several seconds.

    Material morphogenesis is more than simply a material feedback loop in the design process, but suggests a material system that derives form. Contemporary fabrication tools are not simply about material system. “Natural morphogenesis” develops its complex form from the systematic interaction between internal material capacities and external environmental influences and forces.Inspired from this natural morphogenesis, we want to situate our “computational morphogenesis” on the complex interrelationships between material capacities, manufacturing constraints and logics of assembly, and external micro-climatic conditions.

    The global geometry we imagine would be an installation which allows people to sit and rest on some parts. Other parts would be aesthetic, flowing in shape. One axis of the installation defines the flowing path, while the “ceiling” develops in the air, which also acts as a shading equipment. Ideally, the joint itself becomes a beautiful part of the global geometry and helps to support the whole structure.



    Susan Lin

    Bennett Scorcia
    [starrater tpl=44 size=’30’]


Viewing 8 replies - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #2356

    Gabriel Tarmassi

    This looks interesting, but i cannot see what you are going to do with this in detail. Will you work with lamite or similar techniques to produce a modular element or what are you planning?




    Something like, testing the material according to its different properties. By a computational simulation programs?


    romney shipway

    besides bending wood, What is this project about. I honestly dont understand?

    ” Our localized approach to wood bending interlinked with a global

    assembly system creates a 3D structural matrix of natural wood.” ?


    D Gaker

    What you have shown isn’t a Mobius strip, but it reminds me of one.

    This type of construction could be used to make organic complex shapes like windmill blades.


    Bennett Scorcia

    I hope the images and text above is helping to answer your questions. Thank you.


    Mark Anson

    I love bending wood.  Green wood bending is fun, I have been envolved in large truss design using 20 metre green tree trunks, but i prefer steam bending.  Oh to have the robotic tools you play with.  No waiting for the wood to dry before glueing.  No staining due to the heavy moisture content.  Do you run into discoloring due to burning?  Is the robot clever enough to stop before it toasts?


    Bennett Scorcia

    Mark, thank you for your interest. Yes, we have already tried different methods to prevent from burning. We could either  lower the temperature to the appropriate temperature boundary,  or put a wet rag around the pipe. The latter one would actually generate water vapor, which was quite interesting and reminds us of  the “steam” bending, haha. About the robot, we are now controlling it as the same gentle speed rolling around the pipe. And it works really sweetly.


    Bennett Scorcia

    There are a few different method to control the burning. 1. carefully finding the appropriate temperature(450^f works for us), 2. In combination with temp control we soak the would prior to bending. We have found that after 24hrs of soaking produces a moisture content of 30% double the moisture content than it had (15%) as green lumber 3. The faster the speed the robot travels in bending the less time the wood is on the hot pipe. We are able to control the speed of the robot by first bending a piece of wood by hand as quick as possible without fracturing 4. The last techniques, rapping a damp rag around the piece of wood where the bend is going to be, consistently produces bends without burning but also contributes to a much greater amount of spring back. Without the rag the we can produce bends with less than 10% spring back but with the damp rag it is more like 30%.

    This procedure is a unique technology that can be utilized in many different applications from industrial design, furniture design, building construction and more. The process allows for variable bending without any molds or tricky factors built into traditional steam-bending.

    Playing with robots is a treat.


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