Monday, January 9, 2012


We've been playing with the CNC (computer numerical control) milling machine at FIU's School of Architecture. This is a new technology for us (though it's pretty standard for architecture students nowadays) and we're trying to figure out how to use it. In the next two weeks, we'll use the CNC to cut metal sheets into custom trim to use around the beams and purlins that pop through the exterior walls of the house. Today, we carved a large piece of MDF (medium density fiberboard) into a large construction site sign. This little project was a dry run for another project (an exhibition that opens in a couple of weeks) and gave us an opportunity to play with the technology. Eric Peterson, scholar, craftsman and fellow faculty member at FIU, was instrumental at making this work.

Admittedly, the video of the CNC machine at work is not exactly gripping. The system includes software that translates three-dimensional data into carving patterns, and instructs the milling machine on how to subtract areas from solid materials. The video is backwards (reversed left to right) because the only camera I had available was the built-in video on my laptop.

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