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Carpentry Compiler turns 3D models to instructions on how to build them

Even to an experienced carpenter, it may not be obvious what the best way is to build a structure theyve designed. A new digital tool, Carpentry Compiler, provides a way forward, converting the shapes of the structure to a step-by-step guide on how to produce them. It could help your next carpentry project get off the screen and into the shop.
If you think of both design and fabrication as programs, you can use methods from programming languages to solve problems in carpentry, which is really cool, said project lead Adriana Schulz from the University of Washingtons computer science department, in a news release.
It sounds a bit detached from the sawdust and sweat of hands-on woodworking, but they dont say measure twice, cut once for nothing. Carpentry is a cerebral process more than a physical one, and smart, efficient solutions tend to replace ones that are merely well made.
What Carpentry Compiler does is codify the rules that govern design and carpentry, for example what materials are available, what tools can do, and so on, and use those to create a solution (in terms of cuts and joins) to a problem (how to turn boards into a treehouse).

Users design in a familiar 3D model interface, as many already do, creating the desired structure out of various shapes that they can modify, divide, pierce, attach, and so on. The program then takes those shapes and determines the best way to create them from your existing stock, with the tools you have which you can select from a list.
Need to make the roof of your treehouse but only have 2x4s? Itll provide a recipe with that restriction. Got some plywood sheets? Itll use those, and the leftovers contribute to the base so theres less waste. By evaluating lots and lots of variations on how this might be accomplished, the program arrives at what it believes are the best options, and presents multiple solutions.
If you want to make a bookcase, it will give you multiple plans to make it, said Schulz. One might use less material. Another one might be more precise because it uses a more precise tool. And a third one is faster, but it uses more material. All these plans make the same bookcase, but they are not identical in terms of cost. These are examples of tradeoffs that a designer could explore.
Carpentry Compiler turns 3D models to instructions on how to build them
A 24-inch 2×4 gets cut at 16 inches at a 30-degree angle.
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