Tsugite: Interactive Design and Fabrication of Wood Joints

Maria Larsson, Hironori Yoshida, Nobuyuki Umetani, and Takeo Igarashi
The University of Tokyo
Presented at UIST October 20-23, 2020

Tsugite Title Image


We present Tsugite — an interactive system for designing and fabricating wood joints for frame structures. To design and manually craft such joints is difficult and time consuming. Our system facilitates the creation of custom joints by a modeling interface combined with computer numerical control (CNC) fabrication. The design space is a 3D grid of voxels that enables efficient geometrical analysis and combinatorial search. The interface has two modes: manual editing and gallery. In the manual editing mode, the user edits a joint while receiving real-time graphical feedback and suggestions provided based on performance metrics including slidability, fabricability, and durability with regard to the direction of fiber. In the gallery mode, the user views and selects feasible joints that have been pre-calculated. When a joint design is finalized, it can be manufactured with a 3-axis CNC milling machine using a specialized path planning algorithm that ensures joint assemblability by corner rounding. This system was evaluated via a user study and by designing and fabricating joint samples and functional furniture.



Maria Larsson, Hironori Yoshida, Nobuyuki Umetani, and Takeo Igarashi. 2020. Tsugite: Interactive Design and Fabrication of Wood Joints. In Proceedings of the 32nd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST '20). Association for Computing Machinery, Virtual Event, USA.

Paper - high quality 📄 (4.9 MB)
Paper - low quality 📄 (2.4 MB)
ACM Link 🔗

Source Code

Github 🔗

Please note that Tsugite is a prototypical software developed by a small group of researchers, so we cannot provide technical support to individuals. If you have some technical problem or suggestions, we encourage you to share it under Issues on our GitHub page.

The software is free for personal use and non-commercial research conducted within non-commercial organizations. If you want to use it for commercial purposes, please contact Kaoru Shigeta (


Long presentation (15 min) and short presentation (5 min).


Free interactive software easily creates complex japanese wooden joints + furniture, by christina petridou, designboom, 13 Apr 2021

Automatic design of wood joints developed at the University of Tokyo, by Hiroki Yamashita, ITmedia, 8 Apr 2021 (Japanese)

Researchers Develop Free Software That Can Create Japanese Wood Joinery, by Johnny, Spoon & Tamago, 8 Apr 2021

Infographie: automatiser l’art du joint à la japonaise, sans clou ni colle, by Hervé Morin and Audrey Lagadec, Le Monde, 11 Nov 2020 (French)

Cool advanced snap together designs for 3D joints, Robert McGrath's Blog, 3 Nov 2020

Woodworking, Simplified: New Software Aids in Design by Billy Hurley, Tech Breifs, 30 Oct 2020

Complex wood joint, thanks to new software's interactive features, by Donald Papp, Hackaday, 23 Oct 2020

Simple software that creates complex wooden joints, press relaease from The University of Tokyo, 21 Oct 2020

Updating the art of joinery for the 21st century by Maria Larsson, ACM UIST Blog, 10 Oct 2020

Fabricating joints with the Handibot by Keisuke Inoue, Digital Fabrication Association, 5 Oct 2020 (Japanese)

Other media:
SciTechDaily, TechXplore, Woodworking Network, Altaz, News8Plus, News Break, XPower Software, EurekAlert!, BrightSurf, Tech Sane Point, Science Daily, Mirage News, Tokyo Daily News, Gist Tree, Gadgets Specialist, Ethical Editor, QNewsHub, Tech and Science Post, The National Tribune, Research News, ScienMag, UkCloudNews, Science Codex, Timworld Washington DC News,, The Uncovered Reality.
Japanese: Andla, Nikkei, Fabcross Engineer.
Portuguese: Inovacao Technologica, Aka, QW quimiweb, Engenharia Compartilhada, Synmplexia.
Russian: Techcult,
Spanish: Nuevo Periodico, Enciclopedia Universo.
French: CitizenSide, Crumpi.
German: Bauen aktuell.
Romanian: Descopera.
Chinese: DigLog.
Hungarian: Origo.

Social Media Account

Instagram @tsugite2020


"This is just the best combination of traditional and modern Japan! A new take on and development in exquisite quality and attention to design and function." - Boris Hasselblatt, Professor, Tufts University.

"This paper presents a very thoughtful computational exploration in creating non-nailing joints for woodwork. All reviewers applaud its technical details, sturdy user study that show its utility, and a forward-thinking step towards computer-aided partisanship." - Anonymous reviewer.


Click to open high-quality figure.


Maria Larsson,1 Ph.D. Student
Hironori Yoshida,1,2 Researcher
Nobuyuki Umetani,1 Associate Professor, Director of the Interactive Graphics and Engineering Lab
Takeo Igarashi,1 Professor, Director of the User Interface Research Group

1: The University of Tokyo
2: Preferred Networks, Inc.


US Provisional Application Number 63/085,401


author = {Larsson, Maria and Yoshida, Hironori and Umetani, Nobuyuki and Igarashi, Takeo},
title = {Tsugite: Interactive Design and Fabrication of Wood Joints},
year = {2020},
isbn = {9781450375146},
publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
url = {},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology},
pages = {317–327},
numpages = {11}