This paper introduces a design and fabrication pipeline for creating floating forms. Our method optimizes for buoyant equilibrium and stability of complex 3D shapes, applying a voxel-carving technique to control the mass distribution. The resulting objects achieve a desired floating pose defined by a user-specified waterline height and orientation. In order to enlarge the feasible design space, we explore novel ways to load the interior of a design using prefabricated components and casting techniques. 3D printing is employed for high-precision fabrication. For larger scale designs we introduce a method for stacking lasercut planar pieces to create 3D objects in a quick and economic manner. We demonstrate fabricated designs of complex shape in a variety of floating poses.


We thank Devin Balkcom, Lorie Loeb, and the anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. Kevin Baron and Pete Fontaine of Thayer School Machine Shop provided fabrication assistance. Models provided courtesy of Stanford Computer Graphics Laboratory: bunny, dragon; Thingiverse: whale, seahorse, gorilla, hippo, octopus, toad; Myminifactory: angry bird. This project is partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1464267.



    author= {Lingfeng Wang and Emily Whiting},
    title = {Buoyancy Optimization for Computational Fabrication},
    journal = {Computer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of Eurographics)},
    volume= {35},
    number= {2},
    year= {2016},
    pages = {},