Spinning Machine

Forging Fabrication : Prototyping Ideas Workshop

Collaboration w/ G. Fries-Briggs, M. Horner, J. Yoon
Princeton University SoA, Spring 2013

Spinning Machine - Bowl Making Process (from top left): Removable acrylic scaffold, machine assembly, responsive spinning, uncured spun string bowl, blue bath, hardened string bowl.

Using existing rotary devices as inspiration, the Spinning Machine challenges accepted methods of linear fabrication and direct user-machine engagement by interjecting mandatory heuristic calibration. The machine uses two photocells - one controlling rotation speed, the other controlling the height of the axis - in order to produce unconventional spins around a detachable acrylic scaffold. The rotational gesture once associated with rotary production is now replaced with nuanced hand gestures likened to that of playing a theremin. Both process and product result in inconsistent yet delightfully unexpected effects which no longer rely on repetitive spinning around the axis. The machine was developed under the Forging Fabrication workshop at Princeton University.

The Forging Fabrication: Prototyping Ideas event aimed to challenge the current acceptance of common fabrication processes by urging users to prototype new instruments by which physical artifacts can be produced. The three-day event in February 2013 began with a panel discussion on the role of instrumental design thinking and fabrication in contemporary architectural practice. Jason Kelly Johnson of Future Cities Lab and Andrew Witt of Gehry Technologies were invited speakers. The discussion was followed by a two-day workshop where teams of students constructed a machine for rethinking the way fabrication can inform the design process.