The speaking tree - DigiFab

I wanted to experiment with organic shaped sculptures using Digital Fabrication and I took the example of a tree for fabricating. 

It was also tying into my Prototyping Electronic Devices project that needed me to make some sort of sculpture. 

First steps I took was to sketch out my thoughts on how I'd proceed with making a digitally fabricated tree. 


I then modeled these drawings on Vectorworks which is in another blog.

I decided to follow the slices method used in the laser cutting exercise but using different tools.

Prepped the file for MasterCAM to be cnc-ed. 

MasterCAM file

MasterCAM file

The curved sides of the rings did not get cnc-ed for the first round. I realized the origin on the Z-axis on the techno router was not set right. I then proceeded with the second round where it started to curve the edges. 

I stacked and wood glued 4 rings together so the tree would be modular. 

Each of these are then set in place with 1/4" dowel pins.

Initially I had decided to 4-axis mill the branches but due the the cnc error, I had to improvise and drill holes through the birch logs with the vertical drill press. These would inhabit the wiring for the leaves and also be used to secure the branches to the bark using a dowel.

The birch logs had a paper-y texture on the outside that I did not want to lose and putting it into the 4 axis mill would mildly destroy that effect. Following is a test of the 4-axis mill -