The Design Robotics Laboratory is located within the College of Architecture and Urban Studies' Reserach and Demonstration Facility. This laboratory serves as the vehicle for transdisciplinary reserach in areas relating to materials, processes and systems, and the potentials afforded by advanced computational design and digital fabrication technology. The facility houses the Center's large format digital fabrication equipment including a 7-axis industrial robotic arm (IRB 6640-3.2 with rotary axis), 4-axis CNC Milling Machine, 3-axis CNC Router, and supporting shop tools. Currently the Design Robotics Laboratory supports research efforts of faculty in the School of Architecture + Design, Civil and Mechanical Engineering, School of Visual Arts, and a number of student groups across the Virginia Tech campus. The facility is managed by Dr. Nathan King and available for projects by apointment.
Additive Manufacturing and Prototyping Lab + Design Robotics Studio
The CDR AMP Lab and CDR Design Robotics Studio are located outside the Art and Architecture Library in Cowgill hall adjacent to Architecture and Industrial Design studios at the threshold (Knuckle) between Cowgill and Burchard halls. The facility is composed of two high-profile rooms; one dedicated to Additive Manufacturing and the other to Reality Computing and Design Robotics. These labs serve as a microcosm for the larger research facility housed at the CAUS Research and Demonstration Facility and are accessible by all students within the school of Architecture + Design. The labs consist of up to 20 Fused Deposition Modeling machines, 3 6-axis industrial robotic manipulators (ABB IRB 120), and several other CNC-tools. This facility support explorations in digital design and fabrication. For more information and access please email director Dr. Nathan King.
CAUS Research and Demonstration Facility (RDF)
The College of Architecture and Urban Studies (CAUS), Reserach and Demonstration Facility houses the Center's Design Robotics Laboratory, Digital Glass Studio, and school-wide wood and metal shops. The facility offers several double-height spaces including a partially enclosed breezeway that can be used for large-scale construction. Adjacent to RDF are several acres of useable exterior prototyping space that allows long-term monitoring and evaluation of architectural prototypes. RDF has supported the development and construction or three solar decathlon houses and design-build programs.
Digital Glass Studio
Located within the CAUS Reserach and Demonstration Facility the Digital Glass Studio supports reserach and prototyping in hot glass. Currently under construction the studio will house large format slumping ovens, casting kilns, annealing ovens, and complete glass blowing equipment including a custom 400 lb. furnace designed to support large format Robotic 3-D printing in glass. The Digital Glass Studio supports the Glass Robotics Lab, a joint initiative between faculty at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Virginia Tech that explores opportunities for the integration of computational design and fabrication tools on both the glass industry and related arts. For more information and access to the CDR Digital Glass Studio please contact Dr. Nathan King.
Wood fabrication is supported in both the context of high-craft and construction. The School of Architecture + Design's wood shop facilitates a direct student connection to wood. Student engagement with the facility is managed by two professional wood craftsmen and after-hours Graduate Reserach Associates. Construction scale wood fabrication is supported by the CAUS Reserach and Demonstration Facility which houses a fully equipped wood shop designed for large format-wood fabrication. These facilities are equipped with industry-leading tooling to support a wide range of work at different scales.
Precision Machining and Metal Fabrication
Precision machining and metal fabrication facilities are available both in the School of Architecture + Design's burchard Hall shops and at the CAUS RDF. These facilities house precision machine tools including several multi-axis CAM tools, manual mills, lathes (CNC and Manual), sheer and break, along with cutting, grinding, and welding capacity. Burchard hall shops are staffed by two professional machinists and metal workers that support reserach and student activities. As teaching spaces these facilities offer a direct student connection to materials and processes and are utilized by courses and studios throughout all programs in the School of Architecture + Design. RDF metal fabrication facilities support large scale fabrication, structural welding, and general fabrication activities. In addition RDF houses manual and CNC milling machines, and a number of precision metal working tools.
The School of Architecture + Design's Plastics Laboratory is located adjacent to the Industrial Design Studios on the ground floor of Burchard Hall. This facility is open to all trained students throughout the day. The plastics lab contains prototyping tools and equipment that can support one-off and small batch production of thermo formed plastic artifacts. This facility is central to the daily activity in Industrial Design studios and support reserach relating to digital design and fabrication plastic material systems.
The School of Architecture + Design's Ceramics Laboratory supports but traditional clay-based ceramics processes and advanced digitally-driven reserach efforts. The two studios are located in the mezzanine level of Burchard Hall and the ground floor of Cowgill Hall respectively. Studios are divided by function with one studio dedicated to slip-based processes like casting and the other to clay-based processes of throwing, slab building etc. The studios have multiple SCUTT programmable electric kilns and a large format supplemental gas kiln. These studio support digital fabrication efforts in clay-based ceramics. The ceramics laboratory is managed by Industrial Design Professor in Practice, Martha Sullivan.