Developing Digi-Mechanical Formwork for Plastic Construction Materials

This project essentially applies mechanization and computational control to the basic concept of formwork (common to concrete and earth construction), enhancing the qualities of mobility and variability that are characteristic of contemporary single-use sheet-based formwork systems. The resulting digi-mechanical ‘‘formwork machine’’ could potentially reduce placement, setup, and breakdown costs, and address the significant worker safety issues associated with traditional hand-set formwork systems. Robotic formwork could simultaneously enhance the technology’s unique capacity to respond to architectural form requirements with increased digitally-driven customization and variability.

Contemporary developments in creating sustainable concrete formwork systems are working to replace or eliminate sheet-based, hand-set formwork with factory-situated alternatives. This project alternatively keeps formwork on site, addressing the material and economic wastefulness associated with sheet-based formwork by evolving the current parts-based, disposable system (sheets/planking, connections, bracing, tie hardware, etc.) into a more robust robotic machine.

This robotic formwork can be maintained and used repeatedly — with the extended durability inherent in construction machines — on pre-mapped construction sites, and/or in construction environments that inhibit or restrict human labor.



Work Title Developing Digi-Mechanical Formwork for Plastic Construction Materials
Subtitle Testing forming capabilities and motion control using 3D-printed working models
Open Access
  1. Marcus Shaffer
  2. Autonomous Builders Collective
  1. Formwork
  2. 3D printing
  3. Concrete
  4. Architectural construction
  5. Robotics
License CC BY-NC 4.0 (Attribution-NonCommercial)
Work Type Poster
Publication Date September 23, 2021
  1. Fall 2021 Stuckeman Research Open House
Deposited February 15, 2022




Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added Creator Marcus Shaffer
  • Added Creator Autonomous Builders Collection
  • Added Developing Shaffer.pdf
  • Updated License Show Changes
  • Renamed Creator Autonomous Builders Collective Show Changes
    • Autonomous Builders Collection
    • Autonomous Builders Collective
  • Published
  • Updated