Make Architecture



Assignment 3: Water Jet

For this assignment, I wanted to start working on what might become my final project. After speaking last week in class about press-fit connections, I wanted to try a spring clip connection.

I also liked Nick’s table made from small bars, and wanted to make something out of smaller elements rather than plates. I designed a prototype of one of the modular storage units out of spring- clipped horseshoe units with rings that go over them. The pieces are 1/8 inch thick, and I estimated that if the pieces were 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch wide, the clips would have enough springyness while still being strong.

Get the Cutsheet DWG Here

From a dwg in AutoCAD, the file needed to be converted to a dxf and loaded into OMAX layout, where the lead-ins and lead-outs and pathing was done. One thing to make sure of is that the cut offset was on the outside of all of the pieces. Then it was taken over to the WaterJet in OMAX make and cut.

One issue with the layout is that the pieces don’t nest very well at all, so when it is scaled up there will be much more wasted space on the sheet.

After Cutting:

First Assembly Stage: It was at this point that I realized that something went wrong in the cutting process. Although the cutting paths were set on the outside, the notches were too big and the pieces were not of consistent size. Either the sheet moved while it was cutting, or the tube has worn out a bit so the cut was thicker than the offset.

First Ring On:

Final: The second and third rings are very loose so the clip action doesn’t really work. The ring to hold the edge apart was very difficult to get in, and doesn’t really sit right, but that is probably because of the flaws in cutting.

I feel like the design, with a few tweaks, works well and could be scaled up to make containers for my final project.


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Instructor: Nick Gelpi TA: Skylar Tibbits TA: Varvara Toulkeridou
Class Times, Monday, 1-4pm - room 5-216
4.184 is an intensive introduction to methods of making explored through a wide range of brief but focused 1-week exercises. We'll engage the real and leave behind representation in the focused context of this class gaining skills for utilizing a range of fabrication machines and technologies from lasercutting, waterjet, 3D printing, welding, formworking-molding, casting, gears, joints and composites.
In this workshop we'll constrain ourselves to the territory of the 1:1. Students will represent architectural constructions at full scale and develop a more intimate relationship with technology by engaging the tools and techniques that empower us. We will gain access to the most cutting edge machines and technologies in the MARS lab at the Center for Bits and Atoms.
The second layer of information for this course will be to look at a series of case studies in which construction methods and technologies have played a dominant role in the design process .
Over the past 20 years, architects have focused on the technology of representation to create new ideas of what architecture could be. Looking back today, much of that research failed to substantially change the way we design buildings by focusing on apriori formal configurations. This class makes the contention that this failure comes from a lack of considerations of the potentials within fabrication knowledge. We look to the future of what building might become, given the expanded palette of personalize-able technologies available to us as architects. Students will participate in curious technological and material investigations, to discover the potentials, known and unknown, for these various technologies.
The sub-disciplines of what's drawn and what's built have been compartmentalized and disassociated as the representational tools of architecture have distanced themselves from the techniques of making. At the same time the technologies for “making” in architecture have provided us with new possibilities for reinventing how we translate into reality, the immaterial representations of architecture.


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