Designing for hot-blade cutting: Geometric Approaches for High-Speed Manufacturing of Doubly-Curved Architectural Surfaces

David Brander, Jakob Andreas Bærentzen, Kenn Clausen, Ann-Sofie Fisker, Jens Gravesen, Morten N. Lund, Toke Bjerge Nørbjerg, Kasper Hornbak Steenstrup, Asbjørn Søndergaard

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In this paper we present a novel method for the generation of doubly-curved, architectural design surfaces using swept Euler elastica and cubic splines. The method enables a direct design to production workflow with robotic hot-blade cutting, a novel robotic fabrication method under development by authors of the paper, which facilitates high-speed production of doubly-curved foam moulds. Complementary to design rationalisation, in which arbitrary surfaces are translated to hot-blade-cuttable geometries, the presented method enables architects and designers to design directly with the non-trivial constraints of blade-cutting in a bottom-up fashion, enabling an exploration of the unique architectural potential of this fabrication approach. The method is implemented as prototype design
tools in MatLAB, C++, GhPython, and Python and demonstrated through cutting of expanded polystyrene foam design examples.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Architectural Geometry 2016
EditorsSigrid Adriaenssens, Fabio Gramazio, Matthias Kohler, Achim Menges, Mark Pauly
Publishervdf Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH Zürich
Publication date2016
ISBN (Print)978-3-7281-3778-4
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAdvances in Architectural Geometry (AAG 2016) - ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
Duration: 9 Sep 201613 Sep 2016


ConferenceAdvances in Architectural Geometry (AAG 2016)
LocationETH Zurich
Internet address


  • Robotic fabrication
  • Hot blade
  • Digital design
  • EPS-moulds
  • Cost-efficiency
  • Concrete structures

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