Tool to facilitate versatile shaping (concrete facade elements)
Master thesis at DTU MAN, Supervisor Torben Lenau

Troels Pedersen, Sept 2008 - May 2009

This candidate thesis aims, through model experiments, to gain knowledge about the possibilities and limitations of an adjustable, flexible and reusable form called Flexform. The idea is that one single form allows you to create geometrically different shapings shortly after each other. Since the material and context of the Flexform at the beginning of the project was unknown, a search was conducted to find an application where the opportunities were favourable. Using the Flexform for forming hanging facade elements made in fibre reinforced shotcrete (sprayed concrete), appeared during the search to be the most attractive application.

A test model based on one functional principle for a Flexform was manufactured. It was used for the experiments to gain knowledge about the properties for the Flexform and to show a proof-of-concept for the adjustable concept. The developed principle for the Flexform was based on a principle called "Reconfigurable pin-type tooling". Here a large number of individually height adjustable pins create a form surface all together with their tips. This surface can, depending on the adjustment, be single curved, double curved or plane in different ways. The test model was designed so it could be expanded. During the experiments it had an adjustable surface of 173 x 260 mm, which was adjusted with 24 pins with a diameter of 43,3 x43,3 mm.

The studies performed showed that it was possible to achieve vertical, flat and curved surfaces. It was seen that the form was able to shape both plaster and concrete.

A smooth form surface with unevennesses of less than 0.5 mm could be achieved with the pin tips covered by a piece of 60 mm thick PU foam.

As a result of the experiments a number of recommendations were made, in order to increase the flexibility of the form, to make the surfaces even smoother and to make the Flexform automatically adjustable. Further projects about Flexforms can be based in on these recommendations.