Soft Additive Fabrication Processes: Material Indeterminacy in 3D Printing

  • Rachel DickeyEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1028)


This description of Soft Additive Fabrication Processes, documents ways in which chance and randomness might be treated as values rather than problems. The production of a series of robotically controlled extruder experiments explore integrating material volition with the rigid order of machine control. Specifically this paper outlines the development of tooling procedures that harness emergent conditions in the automation of qualitative material effects. A key question for the research asks, how might architects imagine a design and construction scenario, which is no longer confined to prescriptive material dimensions, but is instead driven by digitally calibrated stochastic material processes? What opportunities might arise from developing an automated system, which does not rely on direct translation, but instead operates and predicts outcomes within a range of potential results?


Additive manufacturing Robotics 3D printing Indeterminacy Material volition 



This work was supported, in part, by funds provided by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The work was produced in collaboration with Meritt Foreman.


  1. 1.
    Kwinter, S.: Soft systems. In: Culture Lab 1, edited B. Boigon, p. 211. Princeton Architectural Press, New York (1993)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Applied Soft Computing, in The Official Journal of the World Federation on Soft Computing (2016)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rutkowski, L.: Artificial Intelligence and Soft Computing – ICAISC 2008. 9th International Conference Zakopane, Poland, June 22–26, 2008 Proceedings. Springer, Berlin (2008). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Negroponte, N.: Soft Architecture Machines, p. 54. MIT Press, Cambridge (1975)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Spuybroek, L.: The Sympathy of Things: Ruskin and the Ecology of Design, 2nd edn. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc: Bloomsbury Academic (2016)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Swiatkowski, P.: How to think constructivism? Ruskin, spuybroek and deleuze on gothic architecture. Footprint 14(1), 44–45 (2014)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Beaumont, J.R.: Architectures of firmness and softness, from interactive architecture lab. The Bartlett School of Architecture, 5 November 2015. Accessed 13 Feb 2017Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Spuybroek, L.: The Sympathy of Things, pp. 45, 67. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc: Bloomsbury Academic (2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kolarevic, B., Kevin, K.: Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture, pp. 5–24. Routledge, New York (2008)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Rael, R., San Fratello, V.: Clay bodies: crafting the future with 3D printing. Archit. Des. 87(6), 92–97 (2017)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Isabella, M., Miller, T.: Digital dexterity: freeform 3D printing through direct toolpath manipulation for wellington crafted artifacts. In: Recalibration: on Imprecision and Infidelity. Proceedings Catalog of the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) edited by Phillip Anzalone, Marcella Del Signore, Andrew John Wit, Mexico City, pp. 266–275 (2018)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Helm, V., et al.: Iridescence print: robotically printed lightweight mesh structures. 3D Print. Addit. Manuf. 2(3), 117–122 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Im, H.C., AlOthman, S., del Castillo, J.L.G.: Responsive spatial print: clay 3D printing of spatial lattices using real-time model recalibration using spatial lattices similar to space frame. In: Recalibration: on imprecision and infidelity. Proceedings Catalog of the 38th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) edited by Phillip Anzalone, Marcella Del Signore, Andrew John Wit, Mexico City, pp. 286–293 (2018)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    AlOthman, S., Im, H.C., Jung, F., Bechthold, M.: Spatial print trajectory: controlling material behavior with print speed, feed rate, and complex print path. In: Willmann, J., Block, P., Hutter, M., Byrne, K., Schork, T. (eds.) ROBARCH 2018, pp. 167–180. Springer, Cham (2019). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Picon, A.: Robots and architecture: experiments, fiction, epistemology. Archit. Des. 84(3), 58–59 (2014)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lynn, G.: Giant Robots. RoboLog. Winter 2016, p. 14. Cambridge. (2015)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North Carolina CharlotteCharlotteUSA

Personalised recommendations