structural substances

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algorithmic assemblies

part 4 - more prototyping

Collaborators: Tianyi Han, Chenghui Nan

The next phase of the project was to continue developing a fabrication process and construction system, this time taking into account a specific site, and more realistic design considerations such as budget and schedule.

 

The most important change in this iteration is the module geometry. While we continued to use the Non-Random Voronoi logic, the module geometry shifted from a simple cube to a Rhombic Dodecahedron. The dodecahdron can be generated from a cube, so the change was easily implemented. We made this change for two reasons. First, the dodecahedron geometry fills twice as much space as a cube, which means the system is more efficient. Second, while filling more space, it actually makes the module more structrually sound, especially at the vertices of the cube.

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From the previous iteration, we learned that the rod-to-node detail was not efficient enough for mass production; we were constantly drilling into the concrete nodes in order to make the rods fit. In this iteration, we developed a process for casting 3-D Printed receptors directly into the nodes. This way, we reached an efficient balance of material properties: the concrete as the cheap, imperfect material, and the 3-D Printed receptors as the precise material.

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We also began testing the detail that allows modules to connect to one another. We determined a plastic snap-fit detail would work best, so we developed a 3D-Printed snap that is easy to insert, but slightly more difficult to pull apart. This way, the modules become part of a larger system that is intuitive as a system such as Legos or K'nex.

The snap consists of 3 parts. First, there is a 3-D Printed sphere with inserts in specific directions. Those inserts then accept the 3-D Printed snaps. Finally, the relevant nodes are castwith a 3-D Printed receptor, which accept the snap. The video below shows the first working prototype of the snap fit, which in this case is a vertex-to-vertex connection.

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