Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Computational Design of Fabric Formwork

Figure 2. A fertility model designed and fabricated using our computational approach. For a target 3D model (a), our system can automatically compute a set of flat panels (b) that can be sewn together to serve as fabric containers to form a target shape by pressure of liquid plaster poured in – see (c) for the simulation under force equilibrium of membrane tension, liquid pressure and external supports. The generated flat panels are used to conduct the physical fabrication of fabric formwork (d). After drying and unwrapping the fabric container, a sculpture with the designed target shape has been fabricated (e).

This work (illustrated in Figure 2) presents an inverse design tool for fabric formwork - a process where flat panels are sewn together to form a fabric container for casting a plaster sculpture. Compared to 3D printing techniques, the benefit of fabric formwork is its properties of low-cost and easy transport. The process of fabric formwork is akin to molding and casting but having a soft boundary. Deformation of the fabric container is governed by force equilibrium between the pressure forces from liquid fill and tension in the stretched fabric. The final result of fabrication depends on the shapes of the flat panels, the fabrication orientation and the placement of external supports. Our computational framework generates optimized flat panels and fabrication orientation with reference to a target shape, and determines effective locations for external supports. We demonstrate the function of this design tool on a variety of models with different shapes and topology. Physical fabrication is also demonstrated to validate our approach.