Architectural Research in Robotic Fabrication: Autonomous Rod Bending

Gregory Tasik


Engineering and Applied Sciences


Assistant Professor of Architecture, Director MSD-RAS Program, Director of the Autonomous Manufacturing Lab

Project Summary

This past summer, I was able to work in the Autonomous Manufacturing Lab under Robert Stuart-Smith in the Weitzman School of Design. The AML aims to innovate building manufacturing using robotic processes, and its current project is robotic fabrication of a siteless prototype house to be constructed on Penn’s campus. The house is not the shape of a typical rectangular structure and due to its complexity, traditional construction equipment will not suffice.

One other person and I were brought on the team to work on autonomous rod bending. Our goal was to automate a commercial rod bending machine that could precisely bend rods of varying complexity. This meant creating a mechatronics system which led to a summer of a lot of learning. In addition to the 3D design skills from my mechanical engineering background, my partner and I had to incorporate electrical and software engineering disciplines. I learned more about Arduino wiring and programming, and about programs primarily used in architectural robotics such as Rhino and Grasshopper. I discovered that robotics applied in the space of architecture was quite different from the robotics I learned in my classes. I appreciated seeing the applications of my learning in different spaces, and it opened my eyes to the possibility of my learning in different industries besides the typical mechanical engineering ones.

I believe this experience shaped me to become a more well-rounded engineer and am eager to apply these skills in future opportunities. I want to take the time to thank my mentors for investing time into me and to my other teammates for working with me this summer.

To see my poster, visit Penn Presents: