Made to order: incrementally formed cladding systems

  • YEAR
    Burnham, Richard
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


Two ‘live’ community projects – designed and fabricated in a Masters of Architecture unit – integrate incrementally formed aluminium components into digitally fabricated building systems. Incremental Sheet Forming (ISF) deforms sheet material into three-dimensional forms through pressure imparted by a robot-held tool. Form and patterning are derived from numerically controlled toolpaths. The projects, a cocktail bar and a gateway structure, investigate multiple research and educational objectives. Parameters of the forming process – geometry and patterning, wall angle and thickness, surface preparation and material properties – are assessed through prototyping. The potential for the mass-customisation of unique components with ISF constitutes a significant advantage over alternative metal forming techniques. The projects leveraged two approaches to mass-customisation; one by parametrically adjusting geometrical forms and the other by adopting a ‘jigsaw’ approach, where each component is a unique part of a larger pattern-making exercise. Forming jigs became an integral part of prototyping, iterated in parallel with the evolution of the component and fixing regime. The ISF formed components contribute to the structural performance of the gateway by bracing the cells of a waffle structure, while providing a structurally independent rainscreen in the cocktail bar. The paper describes previous ISF experiences, learning acquired during prototyping, workflow, and the performance of the assembled components

Keywords: Incremental forming; cladding; education; digital fabrication.


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