01 Press Fit Process

As the initial design for fabrication class, the project I designed seemed intriguingly complex, but proved to be a bit more than I could realistically handle in the given duration to produce the project. Conceptually, the big idea was to take the typical components of CNC milled designs and initiate slight tweaks to those pieces.



ONE       Span the length of a studio desk
TWO       Serve as a semi-partition between desks
THREE       Use the shelf weight as a counter balance
FOUR       End object as a light


In order to cantilever, the object rails have to start thicker at the base and taper toward the top. Additionally, the support braces also scale and space exponentially as they move toward the end.

I used a rectilinear profile to clamp to the corner of a desk and swept between two curvilinear rails about 2.5ft long. I then tried different methods to create 2D ribs but did not achieve satisfactory results. For my CNC test cuts, I wanted to test the angled joint between the outside rail and the ribs.


*All information for sake of completeness, endmill was chipped and gave misleading results.

Stock: 0.5” MDF board on the Techno CNC in N51.
Settings: ¼” Endmill running 18000rpm, speed of 80(in/min) and plunging 0.2” to a final depth of 0.55”.

I set up points in the rhino file to plunge drill at all interior corners. This technique while simple, may lead to early degradation for the endmill. Best results when actual fillets are set up in the drawing.

Since the endmill was in fact chipped, the cuts did not go completely through the material and the cuts were also slightly tapered. I filed all the joints but after a couple of hours decided it may ultimately prove to be fruitless. The angled joints did seem to work, but something about the physical manifestation of the design gave me other ideas.

4.196 Special Problems in Architectural Design Complete Fabrications Nick Gelpi Mon-Fri, Jan 5-7, 10-11, 13-14, 18, 20-21, 24-25, 27-28, 01-04:00pm, 3-402/7-432studio, 1st mtg Wed 1/5 Pre-register on WebSIS and attend first class. No listeners Prereq: Permission of instructor ; Yr-1 MArch students who have completed 4.123 only Level: H 9 units Standard A - F Grading Can be repeated for credit Lab Fee: 150 A comprehensive introduction to methods of “making” explored through a wide range of brief but focused exercises. Skills = developing complex geometries from flat components; fine-tuning press fit construction, molding and casting, and making repeatable molds for customization. A two-part workshop, the first half will contextualize contemporary tools and techniques within the trajectories of historical case studies of building, combined with hands on familiarization of tools. The second half will implement the tools of our workshop in the context of Design. Working on group design build process for three MIT 150 FAST installations, students will test and influencing designs through the instrumentality of production. These hands-on design build projects are intended to produce reciprocity between skills and design, making more complete the problems of fabrication. Subject limited to year-one MArch students who have completed core-1 studio. Contact: Nick Gelpi, 9-224, 253-9415, -


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