This seems like a simple project, but we suspect it may be one of the most conceptually significant that we have planned.

Here's the summary:

  • Self made, standardised bolt-together construction beams will allow project participants to develop prototype artifacts which can later be disassembled and re-made. Designs may be documented, shared and further developed digitally.

Here's the background:

  • What is the very first tool we should acquire? (Bearing in mind that we have almost no resource).
  • We don't yet have a workbench - so an early priority is to make one.
  • How (exactly) should we make a workbench? And what if later that workbench isn't useful or appropriate?
  • How can we get started, learn as we go, reduce or eliminate waste, maintain flexibility and configurability and preserve resources?
  • We believe a drill press may be an excellent early acquisition. Can we scrounge or otherwise cheaply acquire such a thing?
  • With a drill press we can make Gridbeams. With Gridbeams we can make a jig, to make more Gridbeams. With more Gridbeams we can make a workbench. then we can put the drill press and the jig on the workbench, and make more Gridbeams more quickly and accurately.

Conceptually, the project is significant because:

  • On one level it's simple, so anyone can get involved and start to think about the relationship between the digital and the physical.
  • It's conceptually advanced and could benefit from ingenious innovations
  • It starts to deal with analogue material (stuff) in a modular, digital way. There is potential to build virtual gridbeams inside 3D environments like Blender, so we can test prototypes before we build them.
  • Undertaking the project will investigate FabLab concepts (the conjunction of “digital” and “physical”) while simultaneously building the FabLab infrastructure.
  • It's green. Gridbeams completely resist the concept of “redundant material” - by standardising components, unwanted items become material for new designs. This theme sits well with Access Space's sustainability agenda and re-use methodology.

In addition:

  • What would be absolutely the coolest would be to build wooden Gridbeams from recycled material. For this we will need a thicknesser planing machine.
  • We think that standardising gridbeams to particular sizes that relate to standard, available planed timber and box-section steel is essential. What sizes should we pick?
  • A followup project could be the construction of a stairwell so we can conveniently reach our planned mezzanine storage area. This will require steel gridbeams and plywood treads.
gridbeams/start.txt · Last modified: 2010/10/02 15:33 by james
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