Fabrication of the wave model

February 1, 2010

I decided to make an actual model of the proposed idea. The idea of a wave bursting over a wall. Down blow on this blog some research about production method can be found.

First I made a box representing the wall in the proposed idea. After the fabrication research I decided to try to make the model using different materials, pressing and crunching them into shape.

I tries different translucent materials, like PETG (also known as Perspex) at different thicknesses. But this material tended to break before it was in the desired shape. It just wasn’t flexible enough. I even tried kitchen sealing foil. But this wouldn’t keep its shape or it was so much compressed it became a white ball.

After trying these different materials a came upon cellophane foil, we also discussed in a meeting. This material worked quit well, but also was hard to keep in its shape. I had to stuff most of the sheet (which was 100x60cm.) into the box to keep it in shape. That is why the overhang of the wave in the picture isn’t very much.

When I put the lights under it, it did give a very interesting effect. The folded, crunched and mangled material reflects the light just like an ice mass. Because the material mangles in angled planes it looks just like the internal cracks in an ice mass. I also used this in the final model.

But pressing and crunching sheet material into shape didn’t seem to be the best option to make the form. They just didn’t hold their shape, or they collapsed under their own weight.

So I tried a different technique, vacuum forming. I used this technique because it seemed a good chose after the research, and it is available to me at the faculty.

I first glued some purple foam blocks onto each other so I could make the wave shape from it. Then I used a saw, chisels, files, sanding paper, knives etc. to carve the shape.

The guys at the work shop advised me to punch holes in all the concave areas of the shape, so the machine could suck all the air from underneath it. So I did.

After coating the foam shape in Vaseline so the foam and the plastic wouldn’t merge, it was time for the vacuum forming. A 2mm sheet of PETG was advised by the workshop guys, but unfortunately it tore because the material was stretched too far.

I had to cut away the covering material without damaging the foam shape, and try again. The second time we used a thicker sheet (3mm). This one held it, barely though.

Now the shape was made a had to take out the foam. But because the shape is undercut, working like a barb hook, I had to cut it all out. A labor intensive job.

The shape came out quite well. The texture of the foam even left a bumpy effect resembling water. I cut the shape to fit the box and tried the effect it had with the light under it.

Then I thought I could combine the two effects of the vacuum form and the mangled sheet. I stuffed the vacuum form with one of the cellophane sheets, and it gives a great effect.

That is how I made my final model, I hope you like it. I certainly am pleased with the result.

But pressing and crunching sheet material into shape didn’t seem to be the best option to make the form. They just didn’t hold their shape, or they collapsed under their own weight.


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