The aim of the project is to form a developable curved surface from flat strip. We begin with defining the target curve we want to achieve and analyze how to create that curved surface from flat strips of aluminum.

Curve Design

After defining the curve with the aim of having several intersecting loops that resemble a signature, we sweep a surface with the thickness of the desired sheet metal.

Initial Target Curve

Swept Surface





Karamba Structural Analysis

We create a mesh of a single face width along the surface. Then using the Karamba structural analysis plugin, we define supports at the ends of the strip and at some inflection points in the middle of the curve. The use of Karamba allowed for easy analysis of this complex shape in a very short timeframe.

We begin by intuitively setting the anchor points at sections of high inflection or where the strip extends excessively horizontally.

We then use the Galapagos evolutionary solver by setting the displacement as the goal to minimize and the support location as variables. Using this method we are able to achieve a theoretical maximum displacement of 0.4 cm when the strip is suspended by 10 supports.

Subdivided Curve

The strip is divided into 7 parts and the kerfing patterns are generated and are bent individually by a robot.

Combined Curve

We create another curve with the same length and join both to create a 14m long surface to be developed and bent by 7 individual teams. Using only 6 supports, 1 at each end and 4 in the middle, again using the Galapagos solver, we are able to attain a maximum displacement of 23.1 cm. More supports can drastically decrease this displacement, but due to material constrains, we the resulting displacement was accepted since there are no surrounding clashes.

The strips were bent and an LED strip was added. The installation was hung up in the Robotic Lab at IAAC.

Developable Strips is a project of IAAC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Robotics and Advanced Construction in 2021 by:
Students: Alfred Bowles, Andrea Lizette Najera Rodriguez
Faculty: Efilena Baseta, Marielena Papandreou