Saturday, September 19, 2009

fabrication methodologies

Aristotle identified four main causes in his Metaphysics for changes in nature when he investigated the principles of reality that transcend the specifics of science.  Mortimer Adler summarized Aristotle’s four causes succinctly as: 
1. Material cause: that out of which something is made 
2. Efficient cause: that by which something is made 
3. Formal cause: that into which something is made 
4. Final cause: that for the sake of which something is made 
Aristotle was interested in bringing precision to the ambiguous meaning of the Greek word for “cause” that can be approximately equated to “making” in contemporary English, a profound act at the core of human aspiration and action. 

This course locates itself in the act of making, and seeks to answer specific questions about specific acts of production in design and fabrication, to determine their role in conceptualizing art and architecture. A central postulate of this semester is that the “making” of artifacts clarifies intentions and invigorates the design process. We will address Aristotle’s four “causes” in pursuit of our own control over the designs we make.

This interdisciplinary course provides a survey of the different fabrication methods and METHODOLOGY techniques used to solve problems encountered in the design of physical prototypes.Taught collaboratively by faculty from art and from architecture to students in art and architecture, this course will focus on examination of the wide array of techniques with hand, machine, and digital fabrication that are currently available for contemporary artists and architects pursuing innovation in their craft. Since no material can be separated from its physical properties and performance characteristics, this course will also examine material selection as a fundamental decision.

Emphasis will be placed on the ability of rapid advances in fabrication technologies to explore the hybridization/combination of materials and processes.
While this course serves as an overview of fabrication methodologies, experimentation through hands-on projects will allow students to pursue a multiplicity of agendas in the form making of functional artifacts.

Students will work individually or in collaborative teams with equipment in the SARUP rapid-prototyping lab and the PSOA sculpture lab. During the semester, several techniques employing varied technologies are employed. TECHNIQUES/TECHNOLOGIES Discussions about “surface” include an introduction to metal fabrication, metal properties, layout/transfer, piercing, drilling, etching, rolling mill/rolling printing texture, stamping, forming. Discussions about “finishing” include sandblasting, polishing, patinas, paints, powder coating, anodizing and dying aluminum, anodizing titanium/niobium, and plating. The “connections/structure” discussions will include cold connections (rivets, micro bolts, tap and die) and heated connections (soldering/brazing, welding). Advanced fabrication methods will also be discussed including manual lathe, manual mill, and die forming. All of these are supplemented with discussion about digital fabrication including 3D scanning, CNC programming and machining, 3D printing, and laser cutting.