Make Architecture




Rules of thumb for setting up cut file (pre-Omax):

1) leave at least 1″ border around edge of waterjet file.

2) make sure all closed shapes are actually closed curves.

3) use R12/Lines and Arcs as .dxf export type.

Rules of thumb for creating OMAX file (step-by-step guide below):


DO NOT USE MARSLAB TERMINAL; prepping Omax files on MarsLab station has been problematic.

2) it is frequently helpful to break up files with many pieces into separate files that can be sent/cut separately.

Rules of thumb at Waterjet cutter (post-Omax file):

1) When setting “Z” zero, “path start” is 0 (not above).

2) Tool offset default: .015 (every inch depth adds 2/3 thousandths of an inch offset).

3) “wiggles to pierce” – set high (99) wait for *thunk*, hit space bar.

4) Value parallel ON; perpendicular OFF.

A good step-by-step guide from DAVID’S assignment 2 page for Omax interface:

1 . Import Into Omax Layout

2. Assign line Quality (1 = Low , 3 = Mid, 5 = High)

3. Clean File (Reduces overlap and duplicate Lines)

4. Assign Leads (Directs where to enter and exit each cut)

5. Create Paths (Based on the Leads assigned the automatic path generator Creates a path for the stream on water)

6. Review and Save paths


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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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