Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


GEMS Report Summary

Project ID: 286426
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Germany

Final Report Summary - GEMS (Geometric Manufacturing Solutions for Freeform Shapes)

In manufacturing freefrom shapes are more and more used in areas where conventional shape representations are currently present. This is done to extend the products with new features and to enlarge the limits given by the conventional representations. Freeform shapes in architecture are an extension to the current spectrum of available surfaces. Freeform shapes are used in single production like modern architecture as well as in mass production like automobile industry. At present no automated approach exists that directly supports the creation, design and construction of this parts.
The challenge of GEMS project is to adapt the manufacturing processes to this new forms by focusing on cost effective and fast production.

During GEMS project segmentation of freeform surfaces with simple elements was addressed and successfully implemented in a commercial Rhino plug-in toolbox. Rhino as a CAD system is used for the construction of complex parts. To define the production process, algorithms to precisely position 5-axis tools over freeform geometry, in a way that significantly improves the state-of-the-art, and completely eliminates gouges with the target surface where developed.
The identification of regions on complex surfaces that can be manufactured with simple tools as well as the improvement and development of tool paths planning strategies for these surfaces was addressed.
The link between the approaches developed to solve the underlying mathematical problems and the manufacturing process itself was established.
Approximation algorithms for the segmentation of freeform shapes that were developed in GEMS project ensure an aesthetical pleasing solution of low approximation error. To also ensure a high quality product manufacturing of these freeform shapes, manufacturing constraints have been identified and formalized in mathematical terms to include them in the algorithmic approximation framework. Of particular interest where also the constraints that enhance the lifespan of the utilized tools. Engagement control, so respecting the constraints regarding the angle of the tool’s axis to the trajectories of points on the axis, has a crucial effect on tool lifespan and was successfully addressed. To ensure the correctness of the developed approaches and tool paths multiple verification tests have been done.
To enable the user to test and apply the approaches developed in GEMS project, a toolbox integrated in the Rhino system was developed, also the component approach allows to integrate the solutions into all other systems available on the market.

We expect that these new methods will inspire the architecture and industrial community and help open up a field of new possibilities. The developed plug-ins, are powerful tools for designers, architects and engineers, potentially able to help significantly reduce the cost of architectural and industrial projects.

Please find more details about the project at

Reported by

ModuleWorks GmbH
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