SCIArc Masterclass Overview

Thursday 10.01.20 - 10.10.2020

Fologram Masterclass

Gwyllim Jahn, Fologram Co-founder

Fologram is a Melbourne based technology startup developing mixed reality environments to simplify spatial communication and improve how we design, build, learn and share ideas. Fologram has been used in everything from automotive and product design, art fabrication, and construction, and recently in the design, fabrication, assembly and digitization of the steam bent and hand formed timber components of the Steampunk Pavilion for the 2019 Tallinn Architecture Biennial. This workshop will introduce participants to the tools and techniques behind these projects, discuss wide-tolerance approaches to designing and making in mixed reality, teach fundamental skills required for creating mixed reality applications in Grasshopper and provide the opportunity to demonstrate these skills in a physical installation completed using the HoloLens 2.

Preparation required before first session on Thursday 1st October:

Download and install Fologram for Rhino and Grasshopper from

Download and install Fologram for Mobile from the App Store or Google Play

For masterclass participants who are unfamiliar with Grasshopper: work through the Essential Mathematics for Computational Design document and the ModeLab Grasshopper Primer. For masterclass participants who are unfamiliar with Kangaroo: download the plugin and check out the examples:

Thursday 10.01.20

Seminar: Best practices for mixed reality fabrication on the HoloLens (~30 mins)
This brief session outlines use cases for both mobile and head mounted mixed reality applications and covers best practice for using the hololens during fabrication. Participants will be required to conduct a simple experiment to evaluate the utility of their workspace for precise fabrication, and consider this constraint in the design of all subsequent prototypes beginning with a spatial artwork.

  • Mixed reality background and introduction to the HoloLens
  • Comparing mobile and head mounted approaches
  • Working with QR codes in Fologram
  • Techniques for improving precision

Tutorial: Event based modelling with Fologram (~2 hours)
This session introduces participants to our mixed reality toolkit in grasshopper and provides a high level overview of components for displaying and tracking data on mixed reality devices. Participants will be introduced to patterns that can be used for common mixed reality applications or adapted to suit individual design requirements.

  • Streaming objects and parameters to mobiles and the HoloLens
  • Using tracking data in Grasshopper
  • Controlling event flow with the state gate
  • Common patterns:
    • Creating sequences of instructions from models
    • Tracking objects with markers

Discussion: Mixed reality fabrication case studies (30 mins)
This session provides an overview of prototypes, projects and commercial projects that have used Fologram during the fabrication process. The goal of the session is to expose students to a range of novel ideas and approaches for working with the hololens and identify low hanging fruit for improving or adapting past approaches to the malleable assemblies brief.

Deliverables for next class

Task 1: Case Study

Task 2: Fabrication App

Saturday 10.03.20

Seminar: Mixed reality apps in Grasshopper (~1 hour)

Complex design and fabrication tasks require users to access multiple tools within a single mixed reality experience. Fologram for Grasshopper allows designers to create and switch between groups of components that each perform a different function (e.g. selecting a part from a model, stepping through bends in a part, flagging the part has been complete etc). This session will cover how to work with global variables to build more advanced user interfaces and applications, using digitization techniques as examples.

  • Using global variables in Fologram
  • Creating iterative loops with global variables
  • Using global variables to pass data between groups of components
  • Building digitization applications

Tutorial: Working with Fabrication Constraints (~1.5 hours)

One of the biggest opportunities for mixed reality fabrication is the capacity to work in an intuitive, adaptive way with flexible or malleable materials. Where these flexible materials need to form precise joints to produce larger structures it is necessary to simulate material behaviour during the design process to ensure that designs do not exceed material or tool tolerances and that critical constraints (such as the location and geometry of joints) can be accurately fabricated. This session will introduce participants to basic fabrication constraints using the example of a rod bending application.

Discussion: Wide tolerance approaches to design (~30 mins)

We will conclude the session with a discussion of how individual case study research can be applied to the Malleable Assemblies brief or the Spatial Projections project.

  • Limitations and opportunities within the design brief
  • Comparison of approaches to malleable assembly
  • Planning tradeoffs between fabrication time and precision
  • Planning fabrication time with the hololens

Deliverables to be published to by 10th October:

Task 3: Wireframe studies

Task 1: Extending case studies

Completed individually

Choose one of the fabrication approaches that is well suited to mixed reality from Low hanging fruit for mixed reality fabrication. Then conduct your own independent research to find at least 10 art or architectural precedents that utilize this fabrication approach. Unbuilt designs are fine, and you will find it more productive to search for sculptures, installations, non-western and pre-industrial projects than modern buildings. Then select one precedent project and speculate on how it could be extended in two ways:

  • Design - is the design language well suited to the imprecision / approximation of the fabrication approach? Reflect on wide-tolerance design systems described here Wide tolerance design systems and propose design changes to your selected precedent project that could accommodate or benefit from imprecision during fabrication. You might literally apply one of these systems, or invent your own. Produce a 3D model demonstrating your design system in Rhino / Grasshopper.
  • Material & tooling - is the material and fabrication system well suited to handcraft and mixed reality fabrication? If not, propose a different material / approach to fabricating the design in the case study (or your design changes). Collect examples of projects and techniques completed with your chosen material / fabrication system (you could start by checking existing projects and describe any limitations and constraints.

Deliverables (Saturday 3rd October): Create a post on the SCIArc Masterclass category with images of your example projects as well as images, text and/or video documenting your proposed extension of a single selected project.

Task 2: Fabrication Apps

Completed individually using mobile app

Now consider how you would document your case study project if it was to be installed by someone other than yourself. Develop a mixed reality fabrication app that includes:

  • A drop down list with three options to toggle between a view of the complete design, a view of all steps completed so far, and a view of the current step only
  • A toggle between showing the outlines of each part in the design and the filled colour
  • A slider (or buttons) that move to the next or previous step in the design
  • When a user taps on any of the individual objects in the design, a text label displaying information about that object (material, part number etc) is displayed

Deliverables (Saturday 3rd October): Forum post with a short description, images and video documenting results.

Task 3: Wireframe Studies

In groups, HoloLens access required

This task will be your group’s first opportunity to work with the HoloLens for fabrication in order to familiarize yourself with the processes, limitations and affordances of hand-bending 1/8in steel rod following holographic guides. Your group will have two sessions over the next fortnight where you will have access to the HoloLens. Your first session should focus on experimentation - you should try different tools, joint systems and designs in order to report back to your group what works and what does not. The goal of the second session with the device is to improve fabrication processes, overcome or work around limitations and capitalize on affordances through design. You should assign roles and take responsibility for the following tasks within your group:

Fabricator: Collects hololens, materials, tools. Sets up workspace, fabricates prototypes, records video of tests and reports back to group.
Designer: Collects materials, tools and experiments with joint systems and fabrication approaches. Produces simple digital models for experimental fabrication. Develops AR fabrication apps as required, tests on mobile device and documents with video.

Preparation for first session with HoloLens:


  • Source 1/8in copper coated TIG rod from an online supplier or in person store. Ideally 3ft lengths.
  • Source any bending tools as required.
  • Set up a workspace for completing the fabrication (e.g. a table or benchtop). Ensure you will be able to physically attach parts to this work surface. If not, use a piece of rigid sheet material (ply, mdf etc).
  • Conduct very simple tests to verify tools work as expected.
  • Create and print a FologramQR code and physically attach this to your work surface.
  • Collect the HoloLens and follow the best practice guides for #fabrication
  • Place the design model using your FologramQR code.
  • During fabrication, ensure your physical structure is firmly fixed to your worksurface and remains aligned to your holographic guide.
  • Document the results using video recorded through the HoloLens, and / or through a mobile phone connected to the same Fologram session and placed with the same QR code.


  • Source 1/8in copper coated TIG rod from an online supplier or in person store. Ideally 3ft lengths.
  • Source any bending tools as required.
  • Conduct very simple tests to verify tools work as expected.
  • Conduct experiments in forming and joining this material. Consider using tape, wire ties, string, weaving, soldering or otherwise.
  • Produce several small prototypes testing the limits of your joint system. Identify how large joints must be, how long they require to produce, how much access is required, how flexible they are etc.
  • Taking into consideration the constraints of your joint system, along with ideas and opportunities discovered in your case study research and / or design activities from the seminar, develop a digital model consisting of line segments, polylines, polyarcs or curves to be fabricated from 1/8 steel rod using the HoloLens. The digital model can be modelled in any software you like (maya, rhino etc), or could be drawn using the mixed reality drawing app from Saturday’s class, or generated parametrically - it is up to you. The prototype should not take 1 person longer than 3 hours to fabricate.
  • Develop fabrication apps to assist with making or assembling parts in your design. You could simply use the Rhino model, or you may wish to show individual parts in sequence, or you may wish to orient individual parts over a vice in order to bend them by eye, or you may use the rod bending definition, or some other approach.
  • Send the design model and app to your fabrication team.
  • Document your fabrication app and design through screen capture and a short in-app video.
  • Optional: consider how the design would need to change to be fabricated using a mobile phone. Make changes and experiment with physical prototypes using mobile AR as a guide.

Preparation for second session with HoloLens:

For the second session, you should discuss as a group:

  • What is an appropriate scale for the prototype?
  • What is an appropriate level of detail? E.g. how many bends per part, or how many parts?
  • What is the weakest link in terms of precision? Is it drift in the hologram, human error working with tools, spring back in materials, tolerance in the joints etc. What can you do to minimize this?
  • What part of the design was most difficult to fabricate? How can the design change to address this?
  • Where are mistakes most obvious in the physical prototype? How can the design change to conceal these, or how can the tool / process be improved to minimize them?

Then repeat the fabrication and design exercises above.

Deliverables (Thursday 15th October): Forum post with short description, images and video documenting results.