Category Archives: Fabrication

Ice Dome on a Canal In Denmark


The project started in 2015 from an idea by Alexander Osika, at Chalmers University of Technology. The project was suggested for Smartgeometry 2016 at Chalmers.

A first prototype was set up by Alexander and Michael in the freeze storage house in Gamla Staden, Göteborg 

Now a few years later (late Feb 2018) I saw cold weather coming on the forecast and started building a few days before it hit Denmark.

This (2018) version is made from a modified tripod with a fixed cogwheel and a bearing suspended platform holds all the electronics while it is turning around its own axis. A motor with cogwheel pull the platform around the larger fixed cogwheel and a motor with peristaltic pump propel the water, a battery powers the motors, heaters and sensors and a servo actuates the tilting nozzle. All settings and sensor data are transmitted wireless via Bluetooth. Electronics in total: Two stepper motors and stepper drivers, Bluetooth module HC-05, Arduino Nano, 5V voltage regulator, 2x TIP120 transistors, Servomotor 180′, 2xThermistors and kanthal thread as heating elements.

The peristaltic pump draws up water through a tube going down through a center hole in the ice cap. The water is then pushed through a tube to the end of the nozzle where it is sprayed on the ice. As the layers of ice are added, a wall of ice will build up, firstly in a circle, then as the nozzle tilts up the three dimensional shape will become spherical.

The speed of the peristaltic pump as well as speed of rotation, temperature settings and servo tilt is adjustable. In this first build the servo was not actively adjusted, just set to a height over Bluetooth like other variables like heat setpoints, flow and rotation. Two PID control algorithms run on the arduino to control the temperature for both the intake tube and in the long nozzle. To distribute temperature, and reduce power consumption the nozzle is constructed from a few layers: The water runs through a PVC tube of about IØ 5mm, on the outside of this is a thermistor placed. The tube and thermistor are drawn through the inside of a cobber tube of IØ8mm which is coated outside with polymide film (kapton tape). This film acts as electrical insulation between the kanthal thread being the heating element which is wrapped around the cobber tube. On the outside of the cobber tube and heater is another layer of polymide film and finally 8mm insulation layer of foam padding with reflecting aluminium tape on top to reflect infrared.

A final power consumption of 300mAh at 8v without heaters on, and 2100mAh with both heaters at maximum. The battery is a 2cell LiPo with 6000mAh capacity. The rig should be able to run for up to 10hours per charge.

Several attempts to print a dome failed due to various reasons. (1) Ice forming in the vertical central tube until rotation of intake PVC tube was jammed from rotating. This was solved by adding the second heating element and additional insulation between ice cap and aluminium tube, this meant a larger hole in the ice had to be drilled. (2) Leakage in peristaltic pump caused large ice formation in gears and bearings – solved by gluing PVC tubing firmly. (3) Ice forming in nozzle causing all tubes to freeze due to low setpoint temperature. -soon the system must run out of points of failure 🙂

(LEFT) To avoid dripping and back flow leading to overicing the first nozzle had its inner diameter reduced using shrink tubing, however, as it was outside thermal protection of the cobber, it soon froze up. (RIGHT) improved nozzle of metal. The PVC tube is squeezed by the cobber tube from the outside to hold this find stainless steel tube in place.

The wall was only a few cm after approx 2 hours of on-off printing (and failing to print further for various reasons)

The project is under development, and more testing is coming up -when the weather allows…

Astronauts could live inside ice domes on Mars

Havne Kajak Workshop – Harbour Kayak Workshop

We took up the tradition of ‘Skin On Frame’ kayaks as built in Greenland. Only this time we simplified the design to be able to build them in just a weekend.

One kayak and one Stand Up Paddle board were finished and tested on the Sunday, another two kayaks finished over the next days, and until this day one team still needs to skin the last kayak.

We may soon have another kayak workshop, so feel free to contact me and see if there are still places and what dates we settle on.



Photo: Mads Rudolf












Photo: Mads Rudolf

Electric Boat Motor

My diesel motor broke down, so I designed and installed  an electric motor drive.

Great about this project is the way I used different prototyping techniques to fab the timing pullys, and the alu frame.

And even more great is that compared to the diesel engine which had 4 separate liquid systems and electric system – this has just one electric system, and it doesn’t pollute or require any maintenance.

It charges on solar panels 20V boosted up to 60V for the 4x12v batteries (series) that provide the electric power. -I have even been sailing on sun alone 😉

V.1 10kW BLDC 150KV 45-52V 86Ah direct drive – not working 🙂

V.2 10kW BLDCmotor 150KV 45-52V 86Ah timing belt over cast pullys. Worked ok but at low rpm for the motor, causing high current draw.

V.2 25kW BLDC motor 50KV 45-52V 86Ah same timing belt setup, this works perfect from 150 w just driving the boat in harbour without current or strong wind up to approx 2000W in canals etc.

If you are interested in more details, just ask.

I will try to get some shots from the current installation.. to show the pulley setup.


Material and Detail 2015

The Master course Material and Detail was led by Daniel Norell, Jonas Lundberg, Kengo Skorick, HsengTai JaReng Lintner, Stefan Lintner and Stig Anton Nielsen. 28 master students were asked to propose a refugee shelter to be placed in the Zataari camp in Jordanien. Expanded polystyrene was the outset for exploring possible composite materials, and the winning concept focus on minimum material use. A secondary winner project was chosen for its multiple innovative solutions in joinery, composite thinking and fabrication techniques.




Students in Material and Detail 2015

Reem Alkaisy,
Beatrice Calini,
Johanna Mija Dahlberg,
Klara Dahlin,
Carl Darenlind,
Alexandra Duhamel,
Samuel Eliasson,
Joyce Fisscher,
Emma Holmin,
Andrine Johansson,
Hjalmar Kaudern,
Nessim Kaufmann,
Jens Ljunggren,
Martin Löfqvist,
Emma Magnusson,
Regina Makhmutova,
Maximiliano Martín Parra,
Jakob Müller,
Niklas Nordström,
Gustav Nyman,
Viktoriya Oleksyuk,
Luke Partyka,
Ellen Pleil,
Adrien Quennepoix,
Margot Scheyving,
Theodor Tsesmatzoglou,
Marie Lou Valdes,
Theresia Vängborg Nyberg,
Anna Ådén,

2015 Material Actuation – Addition Modification and Subtraction


2015 Material Actuation, was part of introduction to the course Material and Detail at Chalmers University of Technology. During two weeks student teams investigated three modes of material actuation. Addition, four students constructed and tested an EPS extruder. Modification, four students constructed and tested a CNC metal-plate bender. Subtraction, four students constructed and tested a large scale CNC hotwire cutting system, able to cut EPS foam blocks up to 1200x1200x600mm. All projects made use of a large scale robotic arm. back


SONY DSC MPArc_2015_074

The MAKE:lab at Chalmers

20141108_Make02AMaterial Actuation and Kinetic Experimentation Laboratory at Chalmers was founded by Stig Anton Nielsen in September 2015 as a consequence of both the donation of a large industry robotic arm, and the funding for quality in education at Chalmers. The laboratory will provide the students and researchers with the opportunity to develop ideas on more advanced material explorations, based on actuator systems and sensor systems. So far one intense workshop has taken place during two weeks of October 2015.



Dermoid In spring 2009 Prof. Mark Burry won the prestigious Velux Visiting Professorship Award to work with CITA, Centre for IT and Architecture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture over a two year period. The aim for the Visiting Professorship was to explore how computation may lead to new material practices in architecture.
The installation Dermoid marks the culmination of this process. It simultaneously demonstrates the wealth of accumulated knowledge, design techniques and research methodology generated as a product of this international collaborative effort. Dermoid was unveiled in March 2011 as part of the “1:1 – Research by Design” exhibition at the School of Architecture.
Bottom: The deformation in the structure is investigated through laserscanning. The scanpoints are analysed via custom written code, recognizing connection points in the structure, these can then be used for comparison against the digital model. 2011


Distortion 2.0


Distortion 2.0 Investigates how the specifications of geometry and materials can create sonic effects.
The project created new interfaces between acoustical science and the build environment by integrating the usually subsequent thought areas of sound performance, design and production. The research project introduced a customized design environment, computerbased acoustic simulation, parametric modelling techniques and the steering of high end materials and digital production technology.
The project challenges the way acoustics are generally thought. Where this is often either a narrow performance solution or even afterthought the project showcases a way to think and create sound and architecture at the same time. It explores the potential of multiple sonic parameters for their sonic effects and expands the usually used single criterion, reverberation time. New digital tools and techniques were developed to virtually experiment and test design propositions; physical experiments were completed to evaluate aspects of the design that could not be calculated digitally.
The dissemniation events gave the framework in which two spaces with specifically tuned acoustic performance could be created – seperated only by 15mm of material. Here the projects sonic and aesthetic sensations could be directly experienced and the performance was validated through modeling and simulation analyses used iteratively throughout the design process and through qualitative and quantitative analysis of the full-scale installation. 2010

Publication: Responsive Acoustic Surfaces: Computing Sonic Effects,












Lamella Flock


Lamella Flock investigates new possibilities of creating freeform structures in wood. Where this is at the moment achieved through the use of resource heavy production techniques using glue lam, complex joints, and 5-axis milling our research shows that freeform surface structures can be constructed by the use of straight beam elements. To achieve this we have utilized the principles of the traditional Zollinger lamella construction in combination with a non standardized production. Challenges arise from the complex interdependency of beam elements in the structure, and the non-linear relationship between requirements of structure, material and production. We propose an approach that utilizes principles of self-organization. This led to the development of generative digital tools that are informed by the physical 1:1 output including structural analysis, production and material knowledge. These constraints loop back into the structures geometrical setup.
Through the integration of this recursive feedback level the projects discussion is widened to the question how computational tools can help designers in the future to deal within an ever growing amount of complexity and integrate bottom-up design approaches. The project contributes to the future use of Wood as one of the few truly renewable building materials – in terms of both materiality and contemporary digital production process. Our research has shown that complex wood structures can be efficiently made and assembled using short straight beams. The key was the combination of traditional wood techniques with advanced computational methods. 2010