Assignment #16
Wildcard - wood bending

For the Wildcard assignment we have to make something unexplored that involves digital fabrication. At the time I’m writing this words the world it’s going through a terrible pandemic that causes death everywhere and keeps lobs closed, so, I came up with an idea that I can put together almpst entirely in my kitchen.

Design of a loop object

The first thing I did was to come up with a Design. What I did was a sort of eye-shaped loop made out of 4 components: two curved pieces of wood, and two simple wooden rectangles to make a structure that will keep the whole piece together. To do this I used the good old FreeCAD, and used some basic sketch and PAD functions of the Part Design workbench

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Steam Wood Bending

The woodes squares are quite easy to make, but the curved stripes are a little less easy. What I’m going to do in order to fabricate this piece is to use steam to bend a piece of wood and obtain the shape that I designed. To bend the wood I’m going to 3d print a shape and then put some slices of wood into a steamer

1 – 3D modeling of the negative.

The first thing to do for my wood bending session is to 3d model a negative shape. What I’m going to do is to simply bend the wood into a 90° arc. To do that I used the FreeCAD partdesign workbench. The commands used are pretty basic: just sketches and pads. The result is a thick piece that will allow me to clamp the bended wood. Since I expect the bening to be a little looser that the shape I’m going to 3d print, the corner is 20° sharper than 90°. In this way I expect to get a shape that goes as close as possible to what I have in mind. Once I was happy with my model I exported in in stl and 3d printed it with my prusa i3.

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2 – wood bending

To bend wood I first used a cutter to make two wooden stripes that would fit with the 3d printed element I fabricated. The CAD file that I made at the beginning was very helpful in this process because it helped me to calculate the exact dimension of the slices of wood that I had to cut in order to get my shape. Mountain View Then I went to the kitchen and boiled some water with a steamer pot. I used a ceramic little bowl to lay the piece of wood not directly to the grid, and then I covered it all an waited for 20 minutes. After this amount of time I took the wood, and used a clamp to keep it against the 3d printed volume I made previously..

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3 – waiting and getting and gluing my parts

The wood stayed clamped against the 3dprinted volume for 4 hours, I’m not sure if this is too much, but I decided to wait longer rather than shorter. After this time was gone I opened the clamps and saw that the wood was actually bent. I was quite optimistic about the wood getting loose, but by gluing the parts together I managed to obtain the shape I wanted at the beginning of this experiment, and turned my design into a real object!

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source files

Here are all the source files for the Wildcard assignment:
1 - freecad file of the whole shape
1 - freecad file for bending form
2 - stl file for bending form