How To: Make a Panel

One task that we have really been focusing on lately is the making of the wall panels. Our process is pretty interesting, so I thought I would share how we created and bent over 100 panels (so far).

Step One is to make a plug for each panel shape. This is done by figuring out the exact dimensions of the airstream curves, and cutting pieces to reflect that curve, and then arranging them across a 5′ board. Once the pieces are glued and nailed together, a piece of masonite is attached to the top of it, along with a layer of tape to ensure that no glue touched the surface.

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Step Two is to cut all of the panels to their rough dimensions. Once they are all cut, another set is needed to create a double layer. The two panels are glued together with a piece of paper on the front. This paper is to mark the number of the panel, as well as to Once that is all completed, the panels are ready to go inside the vacuum bags.

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Step Three is to put the glued panels into the vacuum bags. Once they are placed, the vacuum is turned on to eliminate any air from the bag, causing the bendy-ply panels to form to the shape of the plug. The panels stay in the bag for about 20 minutes.

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We now have piles and piles of the different panel shapes!

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Weekend Developments

We’ve been working hard this weekend to make some progress on the MoCoLab. The wall panels are almost all vacuum pressed and will soon be ready to be installed.

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The windows are looking nice and shiny and new weather stripping is being added to them. The EcoHawks have begun work on running conduit in the interior of the trailer.

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We’ve also begun fabricating test furniture out of the baltic birch and bendy plywood before we begin the final versions.

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Progress 4.23

Things are starting to come together for the MoCoLab! Ribs have been installed, wall panels are in the production process, and the exterior is being polished!
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In addition to these big steps, many of us have been working on tasks such as ordering and researching materials, putting together plugs for each wall panel form, and carefully cleaning each window to bring them as close to their original state as possible. The new wheel wells have been built and installed and look great! Progress has also been made in the development of furniture and we are hoping to get started with building the pieces very soon!

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Our digital fabrication team has been working hard on creating a rhino model and proper technical drawings, and they are looking great! Stay tuned for progress on those!

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CCAD Students Design a Live-Work Airstream

A team of about 170 students at the Columbus College of Art and Design have begun a semester long project to create a mobile Airstream office/living space. The group is re-imagining the iconic Airstream that could be used by a younger, hipper type of traveler. Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler said this type of Airstream has been waiting on their to-do list, so he respected the decision to give these students a shot. “This brand has  survived for 83 years only by reinventing itself for each generation,” Wheeler said. “If this was really going to be relevant for the worker of the future, it needed to be something designed by them that would appeal to them.”

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The CCAD students have presented an initial cardboard mock-up of the design and a 23-foot Airstream shell to their specifications was delivered this month. The students will have until the end of the school year in May to build the interior which looks very similar to our Airstream, complete with collapsible furniture and a hatch door. Turning this prototype into a commercial product that will be mass produced is the team’s goal. Last week, they pitched the idea to Airstream corporate offices.

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Bookmobiles

In our initial planning, we considered libraries as one of the potential users of the MoCoLab. With this thought in mind, these precedents offer insight as to how the Airstream can be used in this way.

First is Il Bibliomotocarro. Antonio La Cava is a retired schoolteacher who rides around the Italian countryside bringing books to children and adults in various villages. He does this to spread the love of reading, and stops in eight different places.

Antonio La Cava in his book mobile and library.

The second example, is the Arlington Heights Memorial LibraryBookmobile. for 41 years the Arlington Heights Memorial Library has taken their bookmobile to the streets of Arlington Heights, making more than 50 stops and transporting more than 4000 books, magazines, video games, and DVDs to around 2000 patrons every month. Not only is this mobile library useful to transport items, but to also make personal connections between library employees and the community. The bookmobile attracts and caters to people of all ages, which is why it has been so successful.

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City Hall To Go

We all know how unpleasant it can be to spend the day at the DMV, and other government centers. With this in mind, a community outreach program in Boston has created a ‘City Hall To Go.’ On this truck, residents will be able to complete tasks such as paying parking tickets, obtaining a library card, or even registering to vote.

The truck is a refurbished bomb squad van and was inspired by food trucks. City officials are pleased with the result and are glad that such services are able to be more accommodating to their residents, especially those that do not have internet access or may need a little extra help.

City Hall to Go Truck Side (440)City Hall to Go Truck Front (220)

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Hank Bought a Bus

As an architecture student that was tired of projects that would never be created, Hank Butitta decided to take his thesis in a different direction. Always dreaming of having a cabin in the woods, but unable to materialize it, Butitta decided to renovate a school bus into a 225sqft living space. What resulted was a consistent, continuous, and completely interchangeable space.

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Materials were kept very simple to not only keep costs low, but to add to the simplicity and elegance of the space. At the end of this project, Butitta and up to a dozen of his friends took a month long journey to test its function.

This is a great example for us to learn from because of its versatility and functionality. This bus can be used for many different reasons, by a varied group and number of people. If you want to learn more about this project, Butitta’s website has a wealth of information and pictures, as well as a travel blog.

Take a look here:
http://www.hankboughtabus.com/

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