Digital fabrication tools have broadened participation in making and enabled new methods of rapid physical prototyping across diverse materials. We present a novel smart tool designed to complement one of the first materials employed by humans — wood — and celebrate the fabrication practice of joinery. Our tool, MatchSticks, is a digital fabrication system tailored for joinery. Combining a portable CNC machine, touchscreen user interface, and parametric joint library, MatchSticks enables makers of varying skill to rapidly explore and create artifacts from wood. Our system embodies tacit woodworking knowledge and distills the distributed workflow of CNC tools into a hand tool; it operates on materials existing machines find difficult, produces assemblies much larger than its workspace, and supports the parallel creation of geometries. We describe the workflow and technical details of our system, present example artifacts produced by our tool, and report results from our user study.
Special Thanks: Mitchell Karchemsky
MatchSticks: Woodworking through Improvisational Digital Fabrication, In the Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Various ways to fixture. Green - alignment; purple - workpiece; orange - fixturing.
Layout of the gantry
Example joints created with our system
Example objects created with our system:
Bringing the tool to the stock for larger/immobile workpieces.
User Study participants created boxes of customizable size and joinery.