FoodCorps Fabrication

FoodCorps Fabrication
Posted by on April 6, 2017
Posted in: built projects

In the old tile building on 7th and Salmon, several companies have reclaimed the light-filled office spaces. FoodCorps, a national nonprofit whose headquarters are based in Portland, can be found behind the larger window-clad facade. Their interior layout is based on their educational mission: the idea of a classroom with a large common area surrounded by several conference rooms.

I (a.k.a., Wingspan Design) was commissioned to build several of their displays by Atelier Cho Thompson, and we collaborated on the creation of a wall-mounted pegboard and a hardwood sign. The pegboard was a tactile “home-screen,” and held a dynamic shelving system for displaying photos, plants, and iconography. (Photos below and at top of post by Marble Rye Photography.)

ACT_FoodCorps_ (1)

ACT_FoodCorps_ (5)

During several virtual “fit” tests, SketchUp came in handy in resolving tricky fabrication questions and helped me communicate with my clients, and CNC and laser technicians. Typically I use the digital visualization process alongside physical prototyping when I can’t grasp how something will look en masse. Take a look at at the images below:

The first concept visualized through SketchUp.

The hole density is difficult to understand on screen, so I do a mock up.

I use three dowel sizes and try three spacing options.

This helps me determine that my middle sized dowel (3/4") and my middle sized spacing (5") feels right.

The hole has to be slightly bigger than the dowel, a .76" hole fits the 3/4" dowel snug.

I take this smaller section and mock up the scale of one full sized panel. It feels a lot bigger standing next to it than it does zooming in on screen.

I modify my file to represent my design decisions and use it to communicate with the CNC technician, showing that the hole spacing between panels has to remain consistent.

I also work in Illustrator to test how shelving will fit between panels.

I go back to SketchUp to find the most efficient fit for cutting the shelving.

The panels are produced according to the drawings.

On site, I mock up the area the four panels will take up on the wall and mark out studs.

The load needs to be distributed as evenly as possible, so I make some changes, adding another rail.

The panels are hung.

(Photos above by Sebastian Dirringer.)

Using a combination of programs and tests I sorted out the details of this project: the hole pattern needed to be neither too dense nor too sparse; the holes needed to flow between the panels in such a way that smaller display boards could be mounted seamlessly; the holes had to be the perfect size so a dowel so it would fit snug.

Next I used a similar process to produce a CNC cut sign for FoodCorps.

I begin in Illustrator finding the minimal amount of maple (green) I need to optimize the cut. I cut the maple boards in these sections before joining and gluing them together.

The CNC tech confirms pocket cuts through MasterCam.

The raw CNC cut, you can see the path of the bit as it faced the material.

I pool paint in the cut to create contrast, and find the paint wrinkles as it dries.

Actually the entire thing is cut too small! Looks great but lets try again.

Back to square one. This time, I decide to create an inlay, and use SketchUp to think about how that might work. Here is one proposal I send to the CNC technician, showing the lettering separate from the sign.

Round two cut produced by Stumptown CNC, that looks way better. You can see that the area around the sign matches what is represented in "green" in the first image.

The CNC technician recommends a .03" offset on the inlay and no separation in lettering.

The production file in Illustrator for the Laser Cutting technician.

Everything fits perfectly! I backpaint the acrylic to match the wall color.

Visit FoodCorps to see this sign in action!

About Yelena

Yelena Prusakova is an illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio.
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