When WOJR approached Quarra Stone Company to fabricate a stone artifact for their ‘Other Masks’ exhibition, intrigued by the design and fabrication challenges, Quarra requested to take on all 8 pieces and worked closely with WOJR to help realize their vision.
“The material and effectual possibilities of milled stone are many, and are truly entrancing. As collaborators, Quarra has understood our vision for the exhibition from the outset and has made suggestions at every turn to make fabrication processes much more fluid.”
—William O’Brian Jr
Quarra is an industry leader in the digital fabrication of stone and was the first company in North America to mill stone robotically. Despite having team members with a broad digital fabrication knowledge, Quarra’s hardware and software capabilities are mostly suited for stone fabrication.
The uniqueness of each piece both in form and material presented Quarra with interesting challenges. An array of machinery was used throughout various stages of the pieces fabrication, including but not limited to: 12′ diameter block saw, 7-Axis KR-480 robot, 5-Axis stone CNC, 3-Axis CNC, 3-Axis waterjet. The materiality of each piece (white oak, walnut, vals quartzite, Alabama white marble, laminated white oak veneers) required the testing and use of various tool pathing strategies to achieve the desired finish.
Quarra has used various versions of PowerMill since 2004 and recently upgraded to the latest version of PowerMill to fully utilize its robotic capabilities. Quarra used PowerMill, PowerMill Robot and Fusion360 for various aspects of the project.
The Bark Mask was milled out a slab of the famed Swiss Vals Quartzite stone. To mimic the texture variation of bark a custom algorithm was developed to create the driving geometry (curves). These curves were utilized in PowerMill’s Embedded Pattern Finishing strategy with multiple cuts to create the depth variance as well.
The Stripe Mask was milled from a solid laminated walnut block. To achieve the designer’s vision of a cross grain pattern on a 45 miter, several tool pathing strategies were used to machine the piece on a 7-Axis robot. An oil finish was applied to create the final look.
With an ever-changing professional landscape and clients asking for more progressive work, industry leading fabricators increasingly require robust flexibility in their software and hardware capacities. Tools such as industrial robots and PowerMill provide fabricators with such flexibility in their workflows.
For more information, contact Autodesk
Author: Ali Seyedahmadian (Q|Lab Co-Director)