FreeD: Human-Computer Collaboration in 3D Craft


Credits: Amit Zoran, Roy Shilkrot and Joe Paradiso

This research explores the intersection of craft and digital fabrication through a human-computer collaboration system for sculpting. Following traditional carving techniques we developed the FreeD: a handheld digital milling device, which is tracked and controlled with reference to a virtual 3D model. The FreeD allows unskilled makers to produce complex carving tasks, as well as personalizing and modifying the digital 3D models while physically carving. The control software offers guidance according to static virtual models or dynamic ones, which may be altered directly or parametrically. In addition, the FreeD is also able to semi-autonomously move and carve. This creates synergetic cooperation between human and machine that ensures accuracy in recreation of the model while preserving the expressiveness of manual carving.


Zoran, Amit, Roy Shilkrot, Suranga Nanyakkara, and Joseph A. Paradiso. 2013. “The Hybrid Artisans: A Case Study in Smart

Tools.” ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 21, 3, Article 15. June 2013. PDF

Zoran, Amit, Roy Shilkrot and Joseph A. Paradiso. 2013. “Human-computer Interaction for Hybrid Carving.” The 26th annual

ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST '13). ACM, St. Andrews, Scotland. PDF

Zoran, Amit and Joseph A. Paradiso. 2013. “FreeD – A Freehand Digital Sculpting Tool.” The 31th international conference

on Human factors in computing systems (CHI '13). ACM, Paris, France. Best Paper Award. PDF

Zoran, Amit and Joseph A. Paradiso. 2012. “The FreeD – A Handheld Digital Milling Device for Craft and Fabrication.” Demo at the 25th annual ACM symposium on User interface software and technology (UIST '12). ACM, Cambridge, MA, USA. Best Demo Award (3rd place). 

CAD File (Rhino):

FreeD_V2_design.3dm (rhino file) (grasshopper file)

Top: carving an alien model from balsa foam with the FreeD, relying on a computational 3D model. The designer makes decisions during the milling process (a-d), resulting in a unique artifact (e), resulting in a personalized sculpture.


Bottom left: model deformation while carving is possible using an override mechanism. The model is smoothly deformed in proportion to the bit’s penetration of the material. (a) the original model, (b) deformation from the left affecting the model and result, (c) deformations of the model from multiple directions.

Amit S Zoran

zoran at cs dot huji dot ac dot il

Office A530, Rothberg Family Buildings, The Edmond J. Safra Campus

91904 Jerusalem, Israel

Amit Zoran


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