MA - THESIS, 2017

    The master thesis „SimpliciDIY“ by Max Salzberger and Michael Lautwein investigates the possibilities of timber plate materials as construction material for do-it-yourself construction systems. The aim was to activate the untapped potential of digital planning and production methods in the construction sector and to make use of the synergies between craftsmanship and academia, taking into account networked process chains modelled after the priciples of  industry 4.0.


    1. scientific paper
    Basis for the work was as research paper on digitalisation in the production with wood, the ecological, economic and physical characteristics of wood materials, the change in the design process from Top Down to Bottom Up, the principles of open source and the democratisation of production emowered by digital technology

    2. analysis of existing systems
    Deriving from the paper an analysis of existing systems was carried out. Key element was the comparison of five do-it-yourself systems that use only wood with the help of an evaluative matrix that presents potentials and weaknesses.

    3. development of own construction system
    Based on the criteria developed for the matrix a construction system was developed. For the wood construction system, the entire process chain was considered, from the manufacturing of the materials, through design, production, transport and assembly, to use and dismantling of the structure.

    Taking into account the technical potential of wood board materials as well as economic and ecological criteria, the design system and its nodes were developed. The development of the nodes of the construction system was carried out according to the research-by-design method up to a scale of 1:1.A three-dimensional model is used to generate all the data required for the construction process. The primary construction of SimpliciDIY is manufactured on the basis of the 3D data with a CNC milling machine and joined on the construction site without further mechanical support.

    4. design of prototypes
    As a proof of concept a prototype of the system was produced. The production of exemplary models was used to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of the evolutionary steps and to refine fabrication parameters. The prototype was also used for the development of an assembly manual for the system using only a hammer and a battery-powered screwdriver. This construction manual enables clients with a small budget and a willingness to do their own work, the timber construction system


    SimpliciDIY is a possibility to close the gap for affordable work and living space. The developments and results of the work are freely accessible after the open source principle via the Internet.

    More information on this project


    SimpliciDIY was awarded with the VDI-Förderpreis 2019


    Michael Lautwein, Max Salzberger
    Faculty of Architecture
    Cologne University of Applied Sciences

    Prof. Marco Hemmerling
    Faculty of Architecture
    Cologne University of Applied Sciences

    Prof. Hans Sachs
    Faculty of Architecture
    Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences