Computer Aided Design & Manufacturing

Intended for advanced students, this course responds to recent developments in the field of computer-aided manufacturing and design (CAD/CAM) that have strongly affected design and production practices in many industries, but are only now emerging in architecture. Topics include digital design environments especially designed to support production, computer numerical control (CNC), technologies (machines and software), rapid prototyping technologies, fundamental CNC manufacturing processes (traditional and new), design for manufacturing and assembly, and other topics. The work of different architects exploring CAD/CAM technologies is examined. One focus of the course is on advanced digital environments (e.g., Solidworks). These environments are dimensionally-driven and support manufacturing applications, assembly modeling, finite element analyses, materials tracking, etc. A related portion of the course focuses on how one goes from a digital model to a prototype, and ultimately to a manufactured product. Primary manufacturing processes will be briefly reviewed during this phase of the course, as will basic CNC code. New, low-volume production techniques based on solid free-form fabrication technologies will also be covered. Assignments include seminar presentations and projects in which prototypes are made from digital models.