Design For Manufacturability in the Architectural Field

Having a vivid imagination in the design world is an asset, but being able to realistically apply it in the real world is a learned skill.

Within the Department of Architectural Technology at the New York City College of Technology (CUNY) , the Introduction to Computation and Fabrication course aims to teach students introductory CNC techniques, with added focus on Design for Manufacturability.

Using parametric software such as Grasshopper in combination with RhinoCAM, students are taught to create their own tool paths. These tool paths are then “proofed” on a CNC machine using a variety of materials, such as Precision Board, to analyze the design for imperfections or errors.

If the student has designed a complex tool path with many tight, narrow valleys, they may realize as a consequence that the machining time is far too long – with the result being a design that no customer could afford.

If the tool path proves successful, the design is then produced on materials including Precision Board Plus HDU. The goal of this is to teach students that when they design something, they should also have a pretty good idea of the output technology required to bring their design to life.

Additional information on the Introduction to Computation and Fabrication course, taught by prof. Anne Leonhardt and Zach Downey, can be seen at:

Brian Ringley, Technology Coordinator for the National Science Foundation ATE Fuse Lab grant program which initiated the course, sent us pictures of several projects featuring Precision Board donated by Coastal Enterprises from their exhibitions.

These pictures show student-created projects made using Precision Board Plus PBLT-4, PBLT-6 and PBLT-8 for the Intersections 2013 exhibition:




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This project was created by esteemed artist and designer Francis Bitonti as part of a student-artist collaboration exhibit called “Intersections” held in 2012. The project is titled the “Schistose Mirror” and shows Precision Board Plus PBLT-10 mounted onto Trupan MDF being cut on a CNC router. After it was CNC cut it was professionally painted by an auto body shop. See more work from Francis Bitonti at:







Behind The Scenes With Dwyer Kilcollin, USC Grad Student

When we were contacted by Dwyer Kilcollin, inquiring about whether we could help her bring an art concept to life with a donation of Precision Board Plus HDU, we were only too happy to help. Especially when she told us about the complex project she had planned.

As part of the thesis for her MFA, Dwyer wanted to explore the role of volume and mass in sculpture. To bring this idea to reality, she decided to build a thesis exhibition titled “Stein is Sein”, which is German for “Rock Is Being.”

Part of the exhibition consists of a cornerstone piece named “Winter”, which was made from Precison Board Plus. The first thing she did was design a 3-d model in RhinoCAM using a combination of algorithms and built-up shapes. Dwyer then had the Precision Board PBLT-15 CNC milled to the CAD file.


The unique pattern was created by using a projector to map the contours onto the Precision Board Plus with a pencil. After that, Dwyer used the pencil lines as a guide to apply the urethane/sand mixture to specific areas to come up with the pattern. Next, she coated the milled piece with Johnson paste wax, which also doubled as a mold release, and used it as a mold to cast a mix of urethane resin and silica sand.


“I am interested in understanding how our physical relationship to objects is affected by the language of images and the increasing accessibility of virtual space. The title of my show, Stein is Sein, posits the philosophical assertion that material (stone, or stein), is the root of existence (sein). In the work, I attempt to restructure the role of mass, surface and pigment in both physical and virtual sculptures so that they might build a new relationship to these objects.” -Dwyer Kilcollin

Be sure to take a look at Dwyer’s website, to see more amazing art!