Make Architecture



4. Shopbot

1. The proposal

Objective :: To make a standing partition which provide varying depth for various visibilities.

Materials ::

– 1 sheet 1/2″** x 48″ x 48″ MDO (medium-density-overlay plywood)

(calibrated as 0.48″)

– 3 threaded rods

– 6 bots

Tools ::

– ShopBot CNC machine  – PRS alpha96  (dimension: 96″x60″x6″)

– CAD to prepare the template

– Partworks 3.0 for adding t-bones/dog-bones and controlling the machine

– 1/4″ end mill

Setting for CNC ::

– Material Thickness: 0.48″ + 0.03″ = 0.51″

– Start Depth: 0.0″

– Full Depth drill: 0.48″+0.08″ = 0.56″

– Tool Pass Depth: 0.56″/2 =  0.28″

– No. of pass:  2

Recommended settings for drilling holes ::

– Material Thickness: 0.48″ + 0.03″ = 0.51″

– Start Depth: 0.0″ (make sure to center the Z axis in the center of the sheet material)

– Full Depth drill: 0.48″+0.09″ = 0.57″

– Tool Pass Depth: 0.56″/3 =  0.19″

– No. of pass:  3

Result ::

Joints ::

Layout for PartWorks ::


– Extra width on the slits is required to allow folding up completely.

– It cannot drilled through completely which require extra hand works, 3 passes instead of 2 passes may help

– The layout of the pieces demonstrate the minimum distances


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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