Piccolo is a pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform. For less than $70, you can assemble your personal Arduino-compatible kit for tinkering, developing and deploying basic 3D output. Be it plotting quick graffiti, printing a one-off business card on the fly, or multiple Piccolos working together to create a large mural, this kit provides a platform for experimenting with 2D or 3D digital fabrication at a small scale. This open-source design emphasizes simplicity, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.
This project is a collaboration between MWM Graphics, aarn, and Paper Fortress Films. The process of creating a "drawing" using a numerically controlled Sharpie is documented in a short video. Vector graphics are converted into a tool path and then a machine language which controls a 3-axis CNC machine retrofitted with a special fixture that holds a marker and mimics hand pressure during the act of drawing. Thirty-three mechanical drawings in three designs were produced using this process.
In which twelve drawings of historical drawing machines are drawn by a computer numerical controlled machine.
The CNC machine draws each drawing in ink on Stonehenge artist's paper. Edition of four.
"Dürer's Door", Albrecht Dürer, 1525
Machine for Orthographic Projection, Hans Lencker, 1571
"Perspectograph" (Perspective Device), Baldassare Lanci, 1583
Projection Device, Ludovico Cigoli, 1600-13
Pantograph, Christoph Scheiner, 1608
Portable "Picture Box" Camera Obscura, Sir Robert Hooke, 1694
Machine for Anamorphosis, Jacob Leupold, 1713
Perspectograph, Johann Heinrich Lambert, 1752
Camera Lucida, William Hyde Wollaston, 1803
Profile Machine, Carl Augustus Schmalcalder, 1806
"A verie easie way to describe a Towne or Castle being within the full sight thereof", John Bate, 1634
Drum Plotter "560", Calcomp Technology, Inc. 1959
Technical Assistance: Madeline Gannon
Support Provided by: The Ferguson Jacobs Prize
See the finished house at http://bakoko.jp/87513/462952/works/onjuku-surf-shack
Industrially precut timber framing has become the predominant house construction method throughout Japan. In our first short documentary, we explain the process from factory floor to building site. Like so much of its traditional culture, Japan has developed a highly efficient technological adaptation of an age-old building technique.
BAKOKO is a international design practice based in Tokyo, Japan, founded by architects Alastair Townsend and Kayoko Ohtsuki.
Japan's traditional architecture is famed for its intricately carved joinery.
Forgoing nails and screws, master builders used interlocking joints to construct robust wooden buildings that have remained intact for centuries despite frequent earthquakes.
Like other aspects of its culture, Japan has successfully applied technology to preserve and modernize this traditional building method.
The precut method uses robotic machinery to cut each interlocking joint in seconds.
Throughout the 1990's robotically manufacturing timber frame houses skyrocketed. Today it is the standard house construction throughout the country.
We are currently building a beach house for a private client in Chiba Prefecture, on the Pacific coast southeast of Tokyo.
Our blueprints were re-drawn by the precut timber supplier into a set of schematics.
The symbols at the junction of each post and beam denote what type of joint will be cut to fit them together.
To better understand the process, we decided to tour the factory while the timber for the home's structure was being cut.
In a former Hitachi factory about 30 kilometers from the site, five workers produce the timber structure for 800 - 1,000 homes each year (with the capacity to handle up to 4,000).
Purpose-built machinery, manufactured by the Heian Corporation, is completely automated, taking square-cut lumber and processing it into stack of pre-jointed and numbered posts and beams.
Each job is input into the machinery from specialized software. The operators' only task is feeding in the appropriate lumber for each job listed in the computer's queue.
There are separate machines for cutting the posts and beams.
First, the dimension of each timber is checked and cut to length by a large radial saw.
From there, it is whisked down a conveyor belt to a large wheel-like armature with five centrifugally-arranged drill attachments.
The spinning wheel allows the machine to mill a tenon (the protruding part of the joint) onto both ends of each post and beam.
A separate part of the machine mills the mortises (or sockets) at exact locations along length of each member.
Along the way, each piece is marked with a unique number so that it can be quickly identified and assembled in the correct place when it arrives on site.
Finally, the wood is stacked, wrapped, and ready for delivery.
It took only a day to erect the precut timber frame of the beach house.
Two skilled carpenters (or daikusan) are working on the job. But to erect the frame everyone from the electrician to the interior decorator is called upon to help.
The pre-numbered members are hoisted by crane and fitted together with the help of a large wooden mallet.
The workers obviously enjoy the process which is akin to piecing together a large wooden puzzle.
The joints are reinforced with steel bolts, providing an additional factor of safety in the event of a large earthquake.
Only some parts of the angled wooden truss reinforcing the southern facade could not be cut by the precut machinery. These had to be hand-cut by the daiku-san.
Despite a long-term recession and a shrinking population, Japan continues to rapidly build new homes.
But the workforce of skilled carpenters (or daiku-san) is also aging. It's unlikely homebuilding in Japan could continue without relying on automation.
With precut, the time and cost of cutting and shaping timber joints on-site, according to long-held building tradition, is greatly reduced.
Using automation, Japanese builders – renowned for their skill and obsessive attention to detail - can efficiently achieve millimeter accuracy quickly whilst eliminating nearly all on-site waste.