When Symmetrix Composite Tooling shapes a job, it eventually takes a recognizable shape. It could be the deck of a boat, or the root end of a wind turbine, or maybe the inverse of bus body, but eventually, it’s a recognizable carved shape. One of the more interesting jobs this year, a fiberglass architectural surface, looked like, well, I’m not sure I could put a word to it.
Which is probably a good thing, considering the secrecy surrounding the job. Symmetrix was contacted by an architect in early 2015. He had designed a modern house with lines that mimicked the surrounding dunes. Traditional building methods would not work. Their solution was to construct fiberglass panels and install them over steel framing. These shapes were so random, so “swoopy”, they thought maybe our CAD/CAM driven CNC machine could help.
And we could. Symmetrix’s engineers took the client’s CAD drawings – long, curved shapes – and determined how best to divide the pieces both for production and shipping purposes. They designed a pattern off of which the FRP tooling could be constructed. There were many variables – certain areas were needed first, some corners would be too tight for our machine to cut, or to difficult to lay fiberglass. The bizarre shapes were twisted and turned, perfect for fiberglass application. When the pieces were finished, we had 17 twisty-curvy parts, almost 200 square meters, that exceeded the customer’s expectations.
Here at Symmetrix Composite Tooling, there always seems to be a job that has to get out around the end of the year, so we’ll be plugging away through these two holiday weeks, putting Santa’s elves to shame to get this wind turbine blade out the door. It is also an appropriate time to stop and reflect on what has been one heck of a year.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll be reintroducing you to a few of our favorite jobs, breaking them up by industry and product type. This week, we’ll focus by industry, sharing our favorite jobs from Art & Architecture, Transportation, Alternative Energy, and Marine. Next week, we’ll showcase our favorite Foam, Pattern, DTM, and FRP jobs.
We’ll start with industries: Art & Architecture. Artists and architects are pushing limits, utilizing the latest in design software and parametric modeling tooling, perfectly lending themselves to digital fabrication in composites. We had fun working on one really big FRP architectural job, but we’ll save that for next week. What we’ll touch on now are our favorite small architectural projects.
First, a fun job for a West Coast friend. Kreysler & Associates quickly needed a design cut in foam: their client, Curbside had ordered a kiosk. Kreysler was coming off of the construction of the San Francisco MOMA siding, so this job was small by both Symmetrix and Kreysler standards. What it did for both of us was, one, highlight our abilities to operate quickly with very tight specifications and time limitations, and two, give us the opportunity to turn a friend and sometimes-client into a partner. This job was quoted, constructed, cut, and out the door within two weeks.
Another long-time friend and sporadic customer we were able to work with in 2015 was Custom Composite Technologies out of Maine. CCT has a wonderful portfolio that spans many industries and product types. While we often go head-to-head on jobs, it’s always great to share our knowledge and work together. This job was another foam-only with a quick schedule – a custom reception desk. The design was curvy and fun to cut, done in no time at all, and off to CCT for them to glass and paint.