"Great Lake Superregion"-based design research practice RVTR often works with local clients such as the University of Michigan's SMART initiative, who called on the multidisciplinary studio to create the MobiPrize for their design challenge of the same name. The organization recently presented the award for entrepreneurial ventures in sustainable transportation at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to winners Zambikes, Hangzhou Omnipay Co. Ltd. and Caronetas Caronas Inteligentes. Each of those projects—not to mention the SMART program itself—is most certainly worth a blog post of its own, but we're sticking to the actual, physical, CNC-milled trophy for now.
Led by Geoffrey Thün, RVTR's project team consisted Adam Smith, Lisa Sauvé and digital fabrication specialist Wes McGee of the Taubman College FabLab.
Our design for MobiPrize utilizes the geometric construct of a M—bius strip—to depict the seamless continuity and access to movement that is central to the ambitions of new mobility entrepreneurs. The form is milled from a solid billet of recycled 7075 aluminum, using a five-axis CNC gantry device, and is finished to preserve the legibility of the multiple successive toolpaths that produce its specific figure and texture.
...the project posed specific challenges for toolpath design given the combination of an object consisting of a continuous surface, and the desire to eliminate repositioning the artifact during machining so as to permit the fabrication to be undertaken in a single, continuous pass.