Make Architecture



03. Water Jet: Craft_ORG

The goal of this project is to make a snap together construction kit using the abrasive water jet Omax 2652. I chose to make a desktop organizer in the spirit of the classic Vitra Uten.Silo designed by Dorothe Becker and Ingo Maurer.

Vitra Uten_Silo designed by Dorothe Becker and Ingo Maurer

Craft_ORG designed by Juliet Hsu

Make Time:

  • 2 hours – Design / Template File
  • 1 hour – Water Jet
  • 1/2 hour – Assembly

Tools and Components:

  • Omax Water Jet 2652 (Bedsize 26″ x 52″)
  • 1 sheet of 1/8″ aluminum sheet
  • Template File


DESIGN. The desktop organizer is designed to be 3″ high x 5″ wide x 11″ long. Measure all items to be organized. Due to the lack of getting my hands on a caliper at the time of measurement, some of the holes were later determined to be a bit smaller.  Slots were designed for aluminum pieces to press fit together.

Tools to organize

WATER JET. Prior to making cutting the aluminum. I made a chipboard mock up of the design. It turns out that I needed bracing pieces to prevent the organizer from collapsing.

Chipboard mock-up

Chipboard mock-up

After adding the appropriate bracing element, I also enlarged holes on the cut sheet for a better fit.

Craft_ORG Template

Craft_ORG Template

Craft_ORG Template.pdf

When making template file, make sure all vectors are joined. Save template file as .dxf. Open file in Omax Layout and set line quality to 3 (1 fast / more kerf – 5 slow / less kerf). Set lead in/out by using Autopath. Select tool path > auto generate.  Save file and open in Omax Make. This will determine which side of the vector to offset. Start!

Total cut time for template file is 18 min.

There were two important lessons I learned during this process:

  • Keep eyes on the machine at all times! Learn to position clamp on places that the machine will not knock into.
  • If cut pieces are slender, chances are it will disappear into the bottom of the water jet. Possible changes is to orient the element perpendicular to the direction of the grills. Or, pause the water jet and grab the pieces before it finish cutting.

Aluminum sheet bent

ASSEMBLY. Use a rubber mallet to assist press fit pieces to come together. No offsets were made on the notches. However, due to a very small kerf, all of the aluminum pieces fit very tightly together.

Detail @ Notches

Detail @ Notches

Final Product: Water jet aluminum Craft_ORG

Final Product: Water jet aluminum Craft_ORG


One Response

  1. meatwithoutfeet says:

    awesome!!!! thanks for posting your lessons learned too.

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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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