This blog documents the negotiation of a System of Scan to Fabricate workflows related to dealing with irregular raw materials, Namely offcuts from the saw-mill logging industry and 

CNC – Offcuts in the digital fabrication workshop. 

A negotiation between design input and the raw material topology necessitates research.

With each material presenting unique Opportunities and Challenges in 

a)The Design Space 

b) Digital fabrication 

c) Data management system.

Design – Process

A top down approach of sending objects into Space.

A canopy – Sub-D to Quad meshes – understanding surface geometry and Mesh Subdivisions.

Design Geometry Discretisation – Exploring the Intensity of Mesh subdivisions to understand and discretise the input surface , 
A Design control to Nest objects or control the Size of the segments.
Nesting on 2D conformal maps to project on to a 3D mesh surface.

Selected Material- Prototype 1

Design to Fabrication Idea – 1.1 

Processed Green Wood Offcuts

Offcuts from the sawmill industry , i.e. which  can be processed into plain sawn logs for our purposes.

In Reference to the project – CCLT. MRAC-01 2021. Obtaining plain sawn wood from offcuts

Scan – Photogrammetry

Processing meshes from photogrammetry to extract edges and the median contour for the specified thickness of material.

Scan to Cuts Generation

Prototype – 1.0

A top down approach , where segmenting meshes according to the said wood pieces was mandatory.

Design to Fabrication Idea – I

Distance heat method to segment meshes

Segmenting/contouring meshes according to curvature

48 planks extracted from 9 logs
80 interior edges * 3 Dowels each
Radial Topology supported by radial post-tensioning and glued miter joints joined with tensioned cables

Nesting Segments in Planks

Speeding up the process of fabrication  by cutting rough cuts on a Bandsaw and processing joinery with milling
30 – 60 Vertical angle limits
30 – 60 Horizontal angle limits
Cut diagonals

Robotic Simulation

Considered Robotic Processing tools 

  • Bandsaw 
  • Milling
  • Circular saw

Design to Assembly – Database

The documentation of the logs to assist Robotic Fabrication.

The following data are recorded in a .json file for ease of information exchange between software platforms.

Processing logs on the bandsaw, each edge had  to be cut in a certain angle to assemble into the global design.

A Triangulated Framework to support panels

Design exploration of a framework for the panels.

Miter & Dowel joints with Chamfer joints between frames with a Front View to showcase Design Geometry.
Reasons to avoid – Produces too much waste in production.
Mitered Dowel Joints between panels were chosen instead

Production plan – 

Planarise all logs – 5 min each , 10 logs.


Cuts on the bandsaw – 35 

Cut length on the saw

    Maximum 0.72m

    Minimum 0.15m

  •  2 min (500 mm/min)
  • 1 typical cut = 2m = 4 min

Total edge travel of curves – 45.1 meters

Cut length on the bandsaw – 22.5 meters


Edges joining – 84 * 3 Dowels 

Finishing and extraction by Milling

Milling edge and depth reduced 

1 m of milling = 0.3 min (3000 mm/min)

Design to Fabrication Idea – II

Material – CNC off-cuts

CNC Offcuts – Secondary Waste

Waste From the CNC workshop in Atelier , IAAC
Description: Large – leftover blanks in the stock from CNC milling & Small – offcuts Milled around

References of similar projects:

1 Still Alive

2 Robotic Mosaic

Processing pieces into the dimensions of the planar surface:

Heights & Planar Dimensions:

Range of heights – 10mm ~ 20mm

Planar Dimensions – 200mm ~ 500mm

Convex decomposition of the waste in relation to segmentation of the surface (contour widths)

Design System – Surface Tiling

Nesting objects on the design surface:

1 Adjusting contouring to achieve packing on the surface

2 utilizing K-means clustering to map the objects onto the Contours (heat method) of the surface

3 Sorting the pieces by color, convexity and size


 Physics simulations to 

 Nest on the surface. In 2D and 3D

Technology Overview

Technology Overview [Solution]

Project Workflow


A Balustrade from Tiling System:

Proposal – 1 week /4 week of production

Curved Wood Block panels with customizable patterns

Design Input

Nesting Cut Pieces on Surface Panel:

  1. Define the Mold / Frame
  2. Resin on the Mould
  3. Nesting Cut fragments on Surface panel
Fabrication limitations of using the Robot
Pick and place – Assembly

Production Estimate – Prototype II

Production Estimate – 4 Weeks

Processing Time per panel


  • Pick & Place (Bin picking and Sorting) – 40 operations. 30 minutes per panel
  • Scanning on the UR – 10 minutes

Robotic Fabrication

  • Algorithm Solution Time – 2 minute
  • Cutting on the Circular Saw – 1 typical cut = 2m = 4 min

20 cuts – 30 minutes.

  • Pick & Place (Assembly)-  40 operations. 30 minutes per panel

Per panel – 2 Hours

Material and opportunity Cost

Secondary Wood Waste – Free

Moud – To be manufactured once, reusable

Resin Binders – Bio resins can make it sustainable

Robot Runtime – Assembly might be manual and AI assisted