Digital fabrication has been used behind the scenes since the dawn of the computer. Early numerically controlled machine mills (NC machines) that used punch tape were adapted for analogue and digital computers, creating computer numeric control milling machines (CNC machines).
Technology has greatly advanced since the 1950s, and we are now seeing digital fabrication emerge as one of the most popular methods in design production. The ease of access to technology, suppliers and design software has allowed architects and interior designers to embrace the technology wholeheartedly.
Use in architecture
Buildings are now required to be more exciting while remaining as cost effective as possible in large developments. Often architects will design a grand feature element such as curving walls or patterned screens. If these features are created from steel, it is extremely labour intensive when done by hand. Digital fabrication processes, like laser cutting or plasma cutting, however, allow designers to realise their exceedingly complex patterns or profiles with ease.
Steel cutting is often used for screens, which are commonly used as shading. Screens allow some light into the building while greatly reducing the amount of heat entering the building. Steel screens are now commonly used as a key design feature. Rather than having a simple pattern, architects can utilise the flexibility of laser cutting or plasma cutting to create many unique screen panels that form a larger image.
Use in interior design
Interior designers are always looking for interesting products. Some of the most contemporary interior design products are digitally fabricated feature lights. Laser cut steel, used to cap low wall lights, can project beautiful shadows onto walls and ceilings. Contemporary chandelier manufacturers and designers often use metal folding and metal cutting processes to create interesting and captivating shapes.
If you would like to find out more about digital fabrication and steel, come and visit us at ShapeCUT. We are a Brisbane based steel profile cutting company with more than 20 years of experience in steel services, including using laser and plasma cutting for bespoke steel elements. At ShapeCUT, we can cater to bulk, one-off and small scale orders at your request.