All Bent Out

Adaptive Fabrication of Bent Wood Assemblies

All Bent Out… explores adaptive fabrication techniques for robotically constructing steam-bent wood assemblies. The workshop explores a constellation of hardware and software tools that leverage the material constraints of steam bending (e.g. spring back, irregular grain) as opportunities to develop adaptive fabrication workflows where predetermined machine tasks can be informed by sensor-based events. In particular, workflows using coordinated motion control of two industrial robots and environmental sensing help to negotiate discrepancies between intended, digitally modeled geometries and actual, physically bent wood assemblies.

Location: Carnegie Mellon University

What participants can expect to learn in this workshop

Participants will be introduced to robotic motion control via the HAL plugin for grasshopper. Participants will learn to orchestrate a robotic work cell with custom tooling to produce a series of dimensionally unique steam bent parts. Participants will be introduced the potential of real time feedback in robotic fabrication.

Participants will assist in the design and fabrication of a full-scale timber frame prototype (roughly 3m x 3m x 2m) which introduces fundamental concepts in robotic machining and assembly.


Familiarity with Rhino 5.0 and Grasshopper, programming or scripting skills not necessary.
Participants are required to bring their own laptops (with Rhino 5.0 and most recent Grasshopper release), HAL plugin will be provided by workshop presenters.

Robotic Specification

– ABB IRB 4400
– ABB IRB 6640

Workshop Schedule

Day 1
Introduction to industrial robotics.
Introduction to HAL plugin.
Introduction to steam bending.
Disseminate design brief.
Simulate robotic bending.
Prototype test assemblies.

Day 2
Robot manufacturing of steam bent parts.
Assembly of full scale installation for Rob|Arch conference (Ann Arbor)

Workshop Presenters

Thibault Schwartz – HAL | Robot Programming & Control

Joshua Bard – Carnegie Mellon University

Richard Tursky – Harvard University Graduate School of Design