Designers of machine-cut objects must often consider whether and how their design can be fabricated with their available materials. In contrast to tools that support preparing finished designs for fabrication, we investigate shortening the feedback loop between design creation and fabrication preparation. To this end, we present Fabricaide, a fabrication-aware tool that interleaves the processes of creating and preparing designs for fabrication. By providing live feedback on how parts should be placed onto material sheets, analyzing how much material is consumed, and alerting users when designs are infeasible, Fabricaide enables users to proactively tailor their design to their available material. Fabricaide achieves this with a custom packing algorithm that arranges parts onto material sheets at interactive speeds. Our qualitative user study shows how Fabricaide can support different workflows, encourage material-conscious design practices, and provide insights on how to further improve similar interfaces in the future.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)