What the Fuck is FIDU?!




Two years ago, while researching digital furniture fabrication, I stumbled upon a funny little stool named "PLOPP." After a bit of research I found out that PLOPP was made using FIDU technology. But what the fuck is FIDU? FIDU stands for Freie Innen Druck Umformung, or Free Inner Pressure Deformation. After a bit more research I learned that FIDU was developed by Oskar Zieta within the chair of Computer Aided Architecture Design (CAAD) at the ETH Zürich. The research started 10 years ago and was initially focused on bending thin sheets of metal in order to make light weight structural components. Out of these experiments grew furniture, sculpture, walls, and pavilions, all of which made heavy use of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) technologies. After a few years of laser-cutting, bending machines, connector detailing and assembly, the research moved in a different direction. Still using sheet metal, but now welding two pieces together along their edges, structural objects were created by inflating the welded sheet metal pieces with water. After initial success creating playful projects using this technique, two advances were made: switching from using water to using air for inflation, and utilizing a robot to precisely weld the sheet metal pieces together. And then there was FIDU. FIDU technology has been used within the CAAD department to create everything from furniture to bridges to pavilions to wind mills. Experimentation with FIDU is ongoing and consistently increasing in scale. It is taught within the ETHZ Department of Architecture through Seminarwoche and as a module in the Master of Advanced Studies in Computer Aided Architecture Design (MAS CAAD) program which is run through the CAAD chair. The experimentation has continually collaborated with industry leaders of advanced manufacturing technologies, including: Trumpf, Fronius, AMAG, Kuka, and Soutec. Beyond it's experimental/educational application within the CAAD chair, FIDU has led to the spin-off company Zieta Prozessdesign, founded by Oskar Zieta. Zieta Prozessdesign designs and produces a successful product line using FIDU technology. These products have been featured at the Saatchi Gallery in London, Moss in New York, the Salone Del Mobile in Milano, and many other prominent design fairs and galleries.

For further information on FIDU Technology please visit these sites:

http://wiki.caad.arch.ethz.ch/Main
http://www.blech.arch.ethz.ch/
http://www.zieta.pl/

Dino Rossi
June 2010
Zürich

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