02 Press Fit Project

I learned several key ideas from the initial CNC tests, mostly about how to redesign the project. I realized I did not want to build a “skeleton” object and instead create semi-sealed volume. Also, I wanted to start looking at the press fit joints as compositional pieces that are integrated into the aesthetics of the project. Lastly, I wanted to begin adding more functionality through my interest in electronics.

With the recent release of Airplay by Apple, companies are introducing products that take advantage of this technology. Basically, you can stream your iTunes to any integrated system in your house. The set back? Primarily, cost. I wanted to create an affordable DIY system that rivals the commercial competitors.


To maintain portability, I used a 3” full range speaker that is easily driven by the Class-T amplifier (15Wx2). The included volume knob is not quite right for this project, so I am either going to create one, or find a salvage one that fits with the design. The Airplay component is not yet available on the DIY market (predicted release mid-Feb).


Through a combination of electrical and structural detailing, the primary elevation remains balanced by using regulating lines and proportioning systems. Simple geometric shapes play against contrasting tones and textures as a means to equalize visual harmony.


The mock up reinforces the 2D conceptual diagrams and allows opportunity to make changes back into the drawings. In this iteration, I noticed the length of the top joint is too long if I were to add a volume knob in the future. I changed this dimension to 1.5” in the final.


Stock: 0.5” Plywood board on the Techno CNC in N51.
Settings: ¼” Endmill running 18000rpm, speed of 60(in/min) and plunging 0.2” to a final depth of 0.55”.

I had to cut twice for two reasons. First, the endmill was not tightened completely when it was placed in the collet and it would slip slightly as it was cutting. Also I could have just run the toolpath one more pass to cut completely through but I instead moved the board from the table and had to recut the entire project. If all goes smoothly the first time, the job should take about 35min to run.

Another issue, I realize the nominal dimension of 0.5″ for the plywood is in reality about 0.46″ and I used this dimension to create all the joint cut outs. However, the lamination at the rear of the speaker box (the more important dimension in relation to .46″ value) was not calculated with this number. In the final model, there are 0.25″ gaps on either side of the box that needed to be filled with furring strips. As a happy accident, the reveal created by the gaps added a further detail that helped with the overall composition of the object.

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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