Weeks #5–#6

Fasteners + different materials

The assignment for this week included:

A. Creating something that is made out of at least two different materials. Only up to 20% of the final thing can be made out of plywood or acrylic. Also, the work should be held up by fasteners of our choosing.

B. Showcase everything we made in the course of this class in a portfolio format (could be any medium).

❋ Intro to Fabrication portfolio

Fasteners + different materials

I started by thinking about and looking for different materials I could use. I went through the junk shelf by the shop but came up empty handed — except for a small, slightly warped piece of a PVC pipe. All my works in this class were using elastic string, so I was looking for something that might work well with a lot of string and in conjunction with another type of material. I then stumbled upon the following image of a couch made out of metal rods, connectors and rope (unfortunately couldn't find the source / credit), which I really liked.

The PVC pipe I saw in the junk shelf made me realize I could perhaps try and do something like that. I obviously went for something simpler, like a stool. While sketching and planning I realized I couldn't really afford to get metal parts, and decided to try and stick with a DIY aesthetic and just use PVC pipes. I then realized I could switch the pipes with wood dowels but keep the PVC connectors, and that, along with the elastic string, would make for three materials that I thought would work nicely.

I started with cutting the dowels to size (x8 12 inch, x4 24 inch), and then accidentally sanded one of them too much and had to then match all of them to be the exact same height

Little did I know — after getting all the parts and preparing the dowels I found out they don't fit tight enough inside the PVC connectors... Apparently even though they were both specified to be 1 inch, the PVC connector was referring to the inner diameter of the pipe and not the outer one. Improvising on that, I got a PVC pipe and sliced ~1 inch rings out of to use as connectors between the dowels and the actual connectors. Cutting the PVC pipe was... not a pleasant experience...

Used the bandsaw to cut a piece of scrap wood for making sure I'm gluing the connectors at the exact same height

Anyway, after that I started assembling the stool and used hot glue to put it together piece by piece. Ideally I would have loved to not use any glue, because the aesthetic aspect of this suggest modularity, as if it could be reassembled into something else, or connect to something else, and glue kind of takes away from that (and kind of hinders it from becoming a... double... trouble...). The glue is also somewhat visible...

After putting all the dowels and the connectors together I started just laying the string to see how it feels and realized I don't have nearly enough for what I had planned... I tried to improvise using scrap fabric but it looked horrible. I then resorted to junk shelf again and tried combining electrical cables with my elastic strings. Unfortunately most cables didn't wrap nicely around the dowels and so I decided to use the elastic cords I had and just try to stretch them as much as possible.

Mixing a cable and too colors of cords ended up looking messy, so I took them off and redid it with just the orange ones I had.

It still looked too patchy with the colored strings (I mean, if it had a nice pattern it would've probably worked but this looks like I ran into issues, which I did, and it shows). So ALL ORANGE! I also quickly measured the dowels' tips and laser cut circles to cover them (thank you Octavio for the acrylic scraps!)

I really wish I had more string that could cover more area and not feel too sparse, and also cover the bottom layer and perhaps parts of the side faces (at least that's what I had in mind...). As is always the case with fabrication — for every step of the way, no matter how simple and straightforward it may sound, there would always be something unaccounted for that's going to either triple the time it takes, the effort it requires or both.

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Jasmine Nackash is a multidisciplinary designer and developer intereseted in creating unique and innovative experiences.