Make Architecture



10: Final Project Proposal, Felting Machine



For the initial final proposal, I started with the idea of building a felting machine which would process raw wool fibers.  The wool fibers get entangled with movement and dirt.  So I wanted to make a machine which would provide rapid but controllable movement.

I would like to combine three weekly topics we studied:  surface milling, molding and casting, motion (gears).

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If I consider this as a mixer kneading dough, it is highly probable that the needles (blenders/mixers) may push the fibers along the edges.  One solution for this can be adding another motor to move the needles on the x-y axes.

Another problem could occur if the fibers manage to travel through the mesh and get stuck onto the needles or gears, preventing them from moving.

According to the behavior of the fibers, I need to be able to have a high control over felting so that I can use different densities, thicknesses, and strength of the final composite.  For this matter, I need many iterations.


Week 1:  Mold design, gear design, surface milling, ordering materials.

Week 2:  Assembly of the felting machine, initial felting tests.

Week 3:  Felting tests and casting.


1.  Wool fibers.

2.  MDF (6 sheets of 16″ x 32″ x 1/2″)

3.  Plywood

4.  Motor (12V, ~200RPM)

5.  Power Supply

6.  Crochet Needles

7.  Rubber


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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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