Thursday, March 7, 2013

Prototype Production

Our one to six scale model of our prototype was finally completed today. We will begin experimentation to understand the tension and compression in our prototype. These experiments will determine the structural decisions we make. We will discover whether it will be necessary to add extra support to the structure by adding connections between the joists above the structure and the uppermost triangles or if the structure will be self-supporting. However, we with have to take into consideration the key differences between the two materials. First, the mdf is more prone to breaking at the corners; therefore the circular holes had to be farther from the corners than they are in our polycarbonate prototype. Second, due to polycarbonate’s unique weight per square inch, the weight which the structure will have to support will be different than in the mdf structure. Not only have we been experimenting with our scaled model, but we are also continuing fabrication of our full scale prototype. We cut more polycarbonate triangles using the same plotting and band saw method as before, but this time we used files in addition to olfas to ensure the clean craft of each of the holes before we inserted the vinyl into the holes and connected the triangles to each other with zip ties. On the mountain folds, we exposed the connection between the ends of the zip tie while on the valley folds the connection was hidden, so that the connection between the ends always landed on a pointed edge. After all the pieces are cut and we assemble them into one surface, we will tighten each of the zip ties to give the structure more rigidity. Right now we are in the process of constructing the middle arch. After it is assembled, we can build outward from each end. As the surface constructed grows, so does our excitement. We can’t wait to finally remove the film from each of the triangles.

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