Timber Plate Structure and Joint Geometry Fabrication Tool

Research Paper from the Laboratory for Timber Constructions at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Institute of Mechanics, Materials and Civil Engineering at Université Catholique de Louvain. A focus on making the design, cutting, and assembly process easier with computer programming through joinery and geometry.

As described in the paper: Application of the solver on a boxed vault composed of 20 hexagonal modules of 7 plates. (Rogeau, Latteur, Weinand, 2021)

This paper presents an integrated design tool for structures composed of engineered timber panels that are connected by traditional wood joints. Recent advances in computational architecture have permitted to automate the fabrication and assembly of such structures using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and industrial robotic arms. While several large-scale demonstrators have been realized, most developed algorithms are closed-source or project-oriented. The lack of a general framework makes it difficult for architects, engineers, and designers to effectively manipulate this innovative construction system. Therefore, this research aims at developing a holistic design tool targeting a wide range of architectural applications. Main achievements include: (1) a new data structure to deal with modular assemblies, (2) an analytical parametrization of the geometry of five timber joints, (3) a method to generate CNC toolpath while integrating fabrication constraints, and (4) a method to automatically compute robot trajectories for a given stack of timber plates.

Paper Abstract (Rogeau, 2021)

Rogeau, N., Latteur, P., & Weinand, Y. (2021). An integrated design tool for timber plate structures to generate joints geometry, fabrication toolpath, and robot trajectories. Automation in Construction130, 103875. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2021.103875

Find Paper here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0926580521003265?via%3Dihub#bb0090

Featured in Horizons Magazine: https://www.horizons-mag.ch/2021/12/02/no-screws-loose/

As described in the paper: The different steps of the robotic trajectory are similar for each plate. However, distances can be adjusted, and intermediary points can be added to work around obstacles and avoid collisions (Rogeau, Latteur, Weinand, 2021)