Zahner’s New Software Aids in Facade Design

Facade fabricator Zahner has launched a new software tool to assist with design and fabrication.  Called CloudWall, the software is a web based program that provides a user interface to design and fabricate curving metal facades (like that of the Zahner Headquarters in Kansas City).  Users can upload their own images and manipulate the design of a custom facade.  Furthermore, the user can export and download 3D models of their facade design, making the transition from screen to site a not too distant reality.

Find out more at Arch Daily.

Autodesk’s Collaboration Lab at Pier 9

Autodesk may be known primarily for its software, but the Pier 9 Workshop on the San Francisco waterfront is radicalizing collaboration through an artist in residency program supported by next-gen manufacturing. With every imaginable type of equipment–from 3D printers to CNC machines and laser cutters to more traditional woodworking gear–the goal was to create a space that could be used by Autodesk staffers as well as a small group of artists in residency.

Learn more via Instructables.

Nike weaves a more holistic running shoe design

Nike’s new Flyknit is every athlete’s dream:  a shoe that has supreme durability and performance capabilities but feels as comfortable as a sock.  Those traits alone make it remarkable, but the manufacturing process is even more groundbreaking:   through computer-controlled weaving, the entire upper part of the shoe is knitted in a single piece that’s then attached to the sole.  This method cuts labor costs and production time while increasing profit margins and customization options. 

The environmentally sustainable, one-piece upper also reduces waste since multiple materials and material cuts are not necessary as in traditional shoemaking.
With the most labor-intensive steps removed–the assembly of multiple machine cut pieces–the impetus to target cheaper labor markets like those in Asia is reduced.  “This is a complete game-changer,” says Charlie Denson, president of the Nike brand.  “The process cuts costs so much “that eventually we could make these shoes anywhere in the world.”

Read more via Bloomberg Business Week