My ambition this week was to cast a topology optimized joint, updating a table design by Foster and Partners. The idea would be to take old tubes of aluminium, and cast the joint that allows them to be joined together. I optimized the joint using milipede for rhino, while milipede gives interesting results for 2d structures, it is very slow for 3D, and I gave up after an hour. Instead of milipede, I used Kangeroo to get a smooth mesh inspired by topology optimization instead. Looking to get the topology optimization tools working in another program at some point inthe future.
Topology optimized shapes are typically 3d printed. However this process uses a lot of energy and is expensive. I wanted to try and develope a new way of making formally complex shapes using a casting method. Sand casting is great because the mold falls away, allowing you to create very complex geometry that would otherwise be impossible to release from a mold. I used the KUKA robot arm to cut patterns out of slices of sand in CNC milled plywood cassettes - each cassette is held in position on a custom plywood support, and zeroed in the robots xyz space.