Sono Textures

An Exploration of Audio-Generated 3D Printed Toolpaths


Sono-Textures is an audio-processing technique that maps audio frequencies to toolpaths for 3D printing. Lower frequencies begin at the bottom of the print and ascend toward higher frequencies at the top of the print. A column of points on the print represents a moment in time in the audio recording beginning at the start of the print. Time is read around the circumference of the clay artifact. The premise of our concept is that for each frequency group, low sounds are represented by small articulations in the clay pattern. Conversely, louder sounds are represented by larger articulations in the clay pattern. The research seeks to produce printed frequency patterns in clay artifacts that transmit a degree of legibility through a visual correlation of patterns to the audio recording from which the frequency data is derived. The realization of this concept necessitated the development of a new digital workflow utilizing a set of system variables for mapping frequencies to toolpaths that did not exist previously. 

Ultimately, Sono-Textures attempts to find physical legibility, both visually and materially, within the patterning and texture of clay artifacts using isolated frequencies from the audible frequency spectrum of audio recordings to create toolpaths for 3D clay printing.
The textures and patterns achieved during the additive clay extrusion process are outcomes of toolpath code manipulation as much as they are dependent on machine parameters, such as machine speed, extrusion flow rate, and layer height. There is a growing interest in the customization and manipulation of clay deposition toolpaths which impart new expressions of patterns, textures, and features within the clay artifact which otherwise cannot be accurately represented or predicted within the surface typology of 3D models. Textures within 3D clay printed objects which resemble woven or knitted patterns are typically a result of isolating toolpath layers and affecting a binary pattern across the individual waypoints belonging to the toolpath of each print layer. This toolpath
manipulation is a post-processing technique that is able to be applied to any 3D model that is suitable for additive clay deposition processes.
Rhino + Grasshopper
The CSV file is read into Grasshopper and the numerical values for each frequency band are remapped to a predetermined amplitude range which has been established during the pattern library testing phase. The remapped numbers are then applied to predetermined toolpath layers and the gcode is saved for printing.


Surface Explorations

This preliminary phase allowed us to explore the possibilities in which clay can mold
itself around a specific geometry. In this case, this surface treatment made us question
certain geometric manipulations that we can take forward to the final proposal.

Toolpath Explorations

In the following phase, we aimed to explore the possibilities that robotic clay printing
can provide with regard to toolpaths. Being able to manipulate the toolpath allowed
us to generate various types of textures and smaller geometries that contribute to the
complexity of the final piece.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Sono-Textures has been part of the course SCI6317: Material Systems: Digital Media and Fabrication at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. The research was under the guidance of Nathan King, Senior Industry Engagement Manager at Autodesk and Lecturer in Architecture at Harvard GSD, and Zach Seibold Lecturer in Architecture at Harvard GSD and Research Associate with the Material Processes and Systems (MaP+S) Group. Further support was possible by Kathy King, Director of the Harvard Ceramics Program, and Gabby Perry, Teaching Assistant for SCI6317.
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