[proj3] FAST Installation – Joel’s Folds: Connection investigation

I was involved in investigating possible connection details for Joel’s FAST installation. Along with Alex Dixon and Li Bin, we worked on designing and fabricating stair-to-installation connection pieces, and also connection bracket parts. We started off with looking at possible options, focusing on cantilevering the installation piece from the interior end. Below shows a large bracket-arm option, connecting at the edge of the installation and also at mid point of the installation piece. However this option required too much material, and the weight of the brackets would exceed the total weight of the installation piece, which didn’t seem feasible/reasonable.

Second option was creating a hook connection at the stair, and connecting it with a cable to the bracket.  We looked at one hook option and also double hook option, with possible cross bracing to further stabilize the hooks from overturning from the wieght of the installation piece. At N-51 staircase, we tested the tension cable using 1/32″ diameter cable, turnbuckle, and connected to the railings.We tested cantilevering a sheet of 1/16″ plywood using two connection points. Cantilevering was successful (until plywood ripped at connection points). See video below! We were inspired by the above connector piece we saw at N-51 metal shop. We incorporated this idea to the bracket, by designing a finger piece that would press fit into the bracket and another connector piece would attach to the end, which will allow cable to pass through. The cable would be compressed into its location by the bolt. A little difficult to explain, please see the diagram below.  We ran multiple tolerance tests, and because we ran the OMAX Waterjet machine at ‘quality 3’ , every time we ran the file, the pieces were slightly different. We used 1/4″ thick aluminum sheet. At one point, garnet powder ran out, so some pieces did not cut through. Mock-up of the full connection pieces. Awesome!

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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