Make Architecture



Re-Do waterjet gearbox

For the Re-Do of this project, the materials and process remained the same.  The process on the waterjet changed considerably and it resulted in pieces that fit-together well and performed perfectly!


  • test cutting a series of holes/posts to find a good fit.
  • making the tolerances for holes oversized by .015″ on all sides, the same size as the waterjet kerf (in AutoCad drawings)
  • making the cutsheet for one box at a time (not 2 as before) AKA simplifying the cutsheet… this simplified making the toolpath in OMAX
  • leaving a 1″ border around my aluminum sheet for clamping- this way I would not have to move the clamps during cutting.
  • stopping the waterjet after each of the small pieces were cut and grabbing them out of the tank before they fell through the cracks
  • spending a LOT of time at the waterjet working out all of these problems.

Despite all of these changes, the project could be more successful if the tolerances were greater.  These boxes required some filing to make things fit perfectly.

Finally, no matter how perfect the cut sheets get, channels still need to be milled by hand for the lid to slide into…

Here’s the output of the successful box parts:

I cut pieces for 2 boxes.  I will show assembly process for one below…

the two ends go on first, the shorter end-piece goes at the top so the lid can slide in.

next, the sides go on, fitting onto the tabs of the sides and the base.

this is the channel i milled into both of the sides for the lid to slide into.

the side-face pegs that secure the box assembly

the hardware assembly inside box, connecting the gear and lever arm

finally, the gearbox working!

see a quick clip of the box in action here


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


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.


%d bloggers like this: