Construction-UDBS - Carnegie Mellon University

Construction

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Construction process began with the full scale prototyping of the structure.  A third of the structure was mocked up in full scale for testing of assembly in a particularly difficult section  (upper left), the trailer itself was mocked up using lumber (upper right), the prototype was then added on to the trailer (lower left), and other portions were continuously mocked up and added to the prototype (lower right).

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The material limits of the flexible tubing were tested as well in the full scale mock up.

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A full scale and completel structure prototype was completed inlcuding stairs before the transition to final fabrication of pieces.

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The final pieces were milled, sanded, and dry fit together in order to reduce complications in final assembly of the final product.  The prototyping process occurred on campus in a space provided by the School of Architecture.

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A rigorous coating process was used to insure that each piece was water resistant and durable.  Each individual piece was primed, and painted (2 coats) with experimental, water based, water resistant, and environmentally friendly paint.  The painting and construction process was done in a space in Construction Junction. 

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Assembly of the final structure began with lumber beams attached to the steel trail frame to create a structural base.  Rib pieces were then assembled according to the staging process.

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Additional structural pieces were designed during construction connecting the ribs to the steel trailer joists to provide additional levels of structural redundancy.  A variety of work was done underneathe the trailer including electrical lines, plumbing lines and structural connections.

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Various pieces were individually painted for graphics as well as uniquely modified on site.  Construction and assembly ran into a series of challenges in which adjustments on site were required.  The digital fabrication process minimized the difficulties of construction, however, the process is not perfect and during construction several problems arose.

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Assembly required team coordination and would often include simultaneous processes.  In the image we see several UBDS members assembling the rib pieces that go over the hitch while in the back another group gather to work on the ribs ready to attach the basin.

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The rib structure's longitudinal ribs were dry fitted together on site in order to assemble as a singular piece often requiring multiple team members and sometimes the entire team to assemble.  The difficulty of assembly was sometimes still very high despite the technology that was used for the purposes of reducing difficulty of assembly.

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The image shows the details of the rib connections.  Access bubbles were milled into the ribs for accesing hard connections that would eventually tie the pieces together.  The puzzle like joints resists forces in 2 dimensions allowing for pieces to form the large singular rib that are then locked into the rib matrix adding the resistance in all 3 dimensions.

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The ribs were designed to have various equipment nested into them providing a rigid space for the equipment to be embedded into the structure.

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The catch basin being fitted on to the ribs.  Additional adjustments would be required for the basin to rest correctly on to the ribs.  The digital fabrication process here was flawed as the basin's form was designed to be complimentary to the form of the ribs, however, there were losses in transition between the digital and physical implementation.

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Three slide footings are attached on to the rib matrix.  On site adjustments were also necessary for this portion of construction with the same issues of transition from digital to physical was not perfect.

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The slide was required to be in place in order for the next stages of rib assembly.  It would require rigorous dry fit testing and adjustment of the ribs, the slide, and the footings before the slide was finally in place.  

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The PV panels are put into place and attached into the negative space created for it.

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The construction process often called for UDBS members to work from multiple sides, angles, and heights of the project.

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The construction process eventually moved outdoors due to the height constraints of Construction Junction. 

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The rest of construction occurred outdoors such as the attaching of the highest pieces of cladding and the flexible tubing covering the project.

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The construction process began with final milling of pieces in late March and ended in early August of 2012 with the final adjustments of the plumbing systems.