New 5-Axis Milling Machine for Rapid Prototyping

A new 5-axis milling machine was successfully installed at the Robotic Fabrication Lab (RFL). It is used to test and develop construction processes in the research environment, but with the same technology that is used in industry. Having the on-site machine enables customisable timber cross-sections and ensures a closed production cycle from design to fabrication. This simplifies intermediate steps and means that researchers and technicians can now experiment more with connection geometry while having full control over tolerances. The milling machine can process wooden panels and wooden beams and bars.

The machine is used by various professorships and is an addition to the RFL for interdisciplinary projects (e.g. for intricate formwork) and can be used in daily operation. Currently the machine is being used for the large-scale demonstrator project Caschlatsch by Gramazio Kohler Research. As part of this project, MAS ETH DFAB students, together with researchers and industry partners, will design and fabricate an innovative timber frame construction that will be manufactured cooperatively by human and machine workers. The timber structure is being built near Disentis/Mustér in the Swiss canton of Graubünden.