Xiaoji Chen and Ari Kardasis came up with an idea to tile the scrap material from a laser cutter, using an algorithm to piece them together. Fascinating!
There is a great deal of waste in fabrication shops. According to our observation, 1/2 – 2/3 of the material surface area is left out in most CNC cuts. Due to their irregular shape, scrap material usually fails to fulfill another cutting request and are therefore discarded.
In MadFab — an MIT student furniture design competition — we proposed a program that recognizes usable regions from the photos of scrap material and algorithmically search for an optimized layout to cut out a given design. Unlike ordinary digital fabrication systems, this process contains feedback loop from the physical object to the CAD environment to the physical object. By doing this, the material cost and waste of digital fabrication may be greatly reduced.