JasperMallinson.com Engineer. Designer. Entrepreneur

University Work




Conventionally, freshly cut wood (known as ‘green wood’) is dried before it is processed into a final product. This is largely because wood shrinks to varying degrees relative to grain direction, which is hard to control in production. For example, 'White Oak' shrinks by around 10% tangentially, and 4% radially.

Instead of avoiding shrinkage, this project starts with green wood, accurately models the shrinkage on a computer, and then uses digital fabrication tools to precisely cut wood in ways that take advantage of shrinkage - for example through shrinking joints, controlled bending, and self-assembly.

A custom extra-tall CNC machine was built out of scrap wood in order to fit freshly cut logs, and a workflow was designed for the CAD software 'Solidworks' to create 'pre-shrink' 3D models from any 3D file. The final workflow was used to prototype a chair where every joint used this shrinkage. This meant the chair could be fabricated robotically near where the tree was felled while using no glue or fixtures whatsoever. The project represents an entirely new regenerative design process for fabricating wooden products.