Carnegie Mellon University | Digital Fabrication Lab (dFab)


Course: ROB | FAB Material Affordance in Digital Design

Special Thanks to Professor Joshua Bard

Spring 2013



ROTATED STICKS | 1.1 Prototyping | 6 Axis ABB ROBOT

Fereshteh Shahmiri, Charles Awida




Pick and place applications have long been a standard for industrial robotic manufacturing and constitute one of the most basic categories of robotic control. Sticks asks us to imagine material handling at an architectural scale. In particular, this project investigates the tectonic potential of architectural framing systems relative to complex material arrays. What structural and spatial possibilities are generated by precisely locating framing members in three dimensions?



Build an array of 50 (+/-) sticks, which spans a distance of 36 inches. All sticks must be placed using a custom robotic end effector.



  • Create custom tools for robotic applications

  • Define work objects within a work cell

  • Precisely index materials in multiple positions

  • Program basic robotic motion


This project required us to design and fabricate a custom end effector to pick up and locate series of sticks. Our Designed tool should attach to the lab’s ATI tool plates. The project also entailed indexing our material with a custom fixture such that the robot knows where to find each piece.



  • Acquire 50 identical sticks (roughly 3/16” in diameter and 9”–12” long).

  • Construct a custom tool which allows the robot to precisely place individual sticks.

  • Develop a digital model to virtually array the sticks (parametric control will be key here so Grasshopper or Python might prove useful.)

  • Produce the necessary target geometry to enable the robot to assemble the array.

  • Physically construct at least one full array with smaller prototypes to support the investigation.

  • Ask questions of the process: How does the robot pick up and release each stick? How are the sticks held together? How do you support

  • the first few sticks?



Workflow | Picking and Placing  + Notching the Sticks

Pick and Place Testing Process:

if sticks container is installed verticall on the wall


FORM FINDING | Considering a Stable Structure

Modeling in Parametric Software Environment |


FABRICATION - BASED Modeling in Parametric Software Environment |

Sequences : PICK  ( stick Container ) + NOTCH ( drilling ) + PLACE ( on defined coordinates) + REPETITION



Process Recording |


Fereshteh Shahmiri

PhD in Computer Science - School of Interactive Computing - Colloge of Computing

Georgia Institute of Technology


Technology Square Research Building, 85 Fifth Street NW
Atlanta, GA 30308

© 2017 by Fereshteh Shahmiri. All rights reserved.