Parametric Adjustable Mould (PAM)

PAM is a numerically controlled (NC) variable ruled-surface mould design which produces doubly curvature surface panels.

The aim of the project is to eliminate the need of wasteful mould design in the manufacturing of panelised system whereby a single adjustable mould can produce highly customisable geometry using NC technology.

PAM utilised a CNC deformation process developed at the Melbourne School of Design. An early iteration of PAM (v.1) produces 32 unique hyperbolic paraboloid surfaces using Echopanel™, a recycled PET plastic acoustic panel to construct a free standing acoustic enclosure suitable for privacy booth or meeting room pod in an office environment. Current research is focused on expanding the material repertoire with this manufacturing technique including concrete and solid surface material.

Typically, most smooth double curvature surfaces are broken down into conveniently sized panels for ease of manufacturing. Such surfaces are often non-developable unless based on single ruled-surface geometry. Traditionally, the double curved surface has to be approximated through panelization to form developable surfaces either as triangular or planar quadrilateral surface. Non-developable surfaces can only be achieved through stretching the flat plane through physical deformation process such as stamping (similar to a car body), casting or injection moulding using thermal plastic or concrete. These methods required unique mould to be manufactured for each surface. The ability to produce customisable forms using a single adjustable mould can therefore greatly reduce the cost and efficiency in the production of doubly curved panels.

The significance of this research is in developing industrial applications using NC technology in the fabrication of complex doubly curved surfaces. It is a unique manufacturing procedure which has the potential to provide a cost effective solution to the current manufacturing methodology as well as reducing material waste in mould design.

In addition, knowledge gained in the development of this research can be applied to other moulding processes to develop fabrication methods in dealing with complex geometry.

Project details

Major Sponsor

Brookfield Multiplex Research Program Awards

Project Team

Paul Loh
Professor Mark Burry


Paul Loh