Soft Fabrication

Working with soft materials in the fablab.

I’m interested in how we can use digital and machine tools to work with a wider variety of materials. Those that allow for more varied forms and functions, or for less determined shapes, or for products with different aesthetics than those we’re used to seeing from digital fabrication tools: scorched plywood edges; layered PLA prints; square acrylic boxes, etc.

Can we work other materials using the same tools? Can we create products with aesthetic qualities that are appealing in themselves, not poor substitutes for mass manufacturing processes?

Behind these questions is a set of much larger questions about alternatives to mass manufacturing: Is there a viable sustainable local alternative? Could consumers learn to love an alternative aesthetic to that of current production processes? Can we use accessible tools to make functional, sustainable, cost-efective products?

I don’t hope to answer these larger questions through this project alone, but it is a way for me to play with them through making.