Department of


Arch 433: Blue Diamond

Course: Arch 433
Students Involved: Kane & Colton



Since the beginning, when we were given the project brief, we both talked about creating an object that was operable or that moved in some way, with that either being in the horizontal direction or the vertical. Once we were able to sketch a few ideas of how we could incorporate 10 individual rods, we were able to come up with different geometries. This allowed us to sort of create a form, which led us to our diamond shaped final design. The diamond shape allowed us to incorporate all ten rods into the design by using five of the rods on the top of the design and mirroring the other five rods on the bottom of the design. We had the final design sketched out and our end goal was to create an operable, diamond shaped geometry using ball joints to allow for the required movement.


Initially, once we decided that our piece was going to be operable, we quickly settled on using a ball-in-socket joint to allow for that movement. This gave us a starting point for our rhino model, so that we could start to mess around with sizes of the ball and how that would fit within the socket joint. Also to allow for movement, parts of the socket needed to be removed in order for the ball joint to rotate more than a few degrees. One we had all of these logistics figured out, we started to model each part based around the necessary size of the cylinder that was build to hold the rod. We had created multiple different options. Each test joint was designed to test certain things. Each joint had a different diameter for the rod so we could see which hole was the correct fit. On the other end of each joint we changed up the diameter of the ball, the diameter of the socket and we played with removing different areas of the socket to allow for movement. These test prints showed multiple flaws that we took into consideration in the final design.


As we were test printing, we started to realize that once our diamond geometry started to move vertically, that put tension on the joints and the ball would eventually work itself out of the socket. Discovering this early allowed us to add more material to the socket to replace the area we were removing. In the end, this proved successful because we are able to move our geometry up and down without the joints coming apart (assuming you’re not man-handling the fragile piece ha).


This was a nice and straightforward project for us to dive into 3D printing and the brief in general allowed us to experiment with different joints, which we quickly learned that anything can happen once your design is sent to the 3D printer. Things will print unexpectedly if you don’t pay attention to the necessary steps and if you don’t take risks, then the computer will own you, prohibiting you from accomplishing your design goal.


January 31, 2018 6:16 pm

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