Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Build Day

Loading the van
Today was the day. After two long weeks of planning and fabricating, we we're finally going to site to build Tube Cubed.
The morning was the earliest start we had had. At studio for 7:15am, the day began by finishing off putting the inserts into the tubes and PVA-ing the insides of the tubes as well as touching up on some of the varnish. We then set about dismantling it and cleaning up. The tubes were once again arranged in their rows to make it easier to construct once we reached Dunham Massey. The van arrived soon after 8:00am so we loaded up and were soon on our way, travelling in convoy of three cars, a van and a group of people on the buses.
It might be a bit on the small side . . .
Once we reached Dunham Massey, we were slightly more awake and as I was travelling with Siobhan and Fran, I arrived before the van so we headed over to site with the model. The van came soon enough so we set about unloading every thing and after three trips in the quad-bike-trailer-vehicle, everything was onsite ready to be built.
First thing first was getting the bases level and in the right place. This involved using the spirit level and one of the frame pieces while we shifted them around and put rubber squares underneath them to stop it from sitting in standing water when it inevitably tipped it down.
The team looking somewhat confused
While this was going on, we had a team bolting the frames together ready to be put in as soon as we were happy with where the pavilion was going to stand. 
The official way of testing structural stability
The frames went in quickly and to secure them, we wedged pieces of rubber between the frame and the base. Before we went any further, we had to make sure it was structurally sound. This involved team members hanging and swinging off it and generally making like monkeys!

Needless to say, it passed.

After that it was Tube Time. As we had practised, we started with row A and were working our way up but some of the tubes had got mixed up in transit so it turned into a bit of a free for all. I escaped around the back to make sure that they were all level with each other and the bases.

It's Tube Time!
I see you!

It didn't take long to get them all in, although we still had a couple of problem holes to sort out. These took the longest to do and to make a long story shorter, we took turns to try and get the holes in the frame wide enough to get the tubes into for most of the day. Our techniques included filing, sanding, chiselling and even drilling and none of them seemed to be having much effect whatsoever. 

Whilst this was happening, or rather, not happening, we were having problems around the back. It looked messy and we were told that it may even pose a health and safety risk due to the nails that hadn't been put in properly. We needed to sort it and sort it is what we did. 

First things first and that was to get the pins nailed in all the way. This called for some serious quality control and any nails that hadn't gone in straight or couldn't go in any further but needed to were pulled out and put in again.

Once this was done, we then got onto tidying up their appearance by sanding down the surface and applying a new coat of varnish.
We secured the tubes in place by placing pieces of rubber between the tubes and the framework. This was to stop them moving or being taken out. 

The frames were still being filed and sanded when we began discussing how we were going to brace it because, despite wedging rubber into the nooks and crannies, it still had a bit of a wobble going on. It was talked about on the previous night and metal rods were considered although we didn't have much of an idea of how to attach them.
A group was sent to B&Q with strict instructions of what to get. They returned with metal rods, nuts and other bits and pieces that were needed, including some new files which were received with open arms to those who were still filing holes. These new files got the job done and there was plenty of celebrating when the last of the tubes went in. 
The guys who were working on the bracing got one rod in before we had to leave and the difference it made was noticeable straight away.

Soon it was time for team photos and to go home due to lack of light but the plan is to come back on Tuesday to finish off the bracing and securing the tubes in place.

The finished article

Some of the original design team
There was obviously something more interesting than
the camera!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Day Before The Build

Guys . . . I don't think this is right . . .
T minus 24 hours and in that time we had to have our dress rehearsal and smooth out any rough edges (quite literally)
The morning started with with bolting the frames together and sorting the tubes ready for insertion. After the back frame was complete, we tested the tubes and I don't know about the rest of the group but I was pleasantly surprised to see that there weren't too many that didn't fit. We made a note of the ones not playing fair with the intention of sorting them out later.
The original plan was to get it up before lunch but as with even the best laid plans, it was not to be. So after a quick lunch break, we split into the teams for the build. The stop watch was started and it was all systems are GO!
First up was the bases. These were lined up by using one of the frames and once we were happy, they added the other two. The cross bracing between frames came next and then it was time for the human conveyor belt to make another appearance. 

And then it was up! Just like that.

Nearly there!
This. Tube. Will. Fit.
Once we had finished admiring our handy work, we began to sort out the problem holes and work on putting the inserts into the ends of the tubes. This was simply a case of finding an insert that fitted into a tube and nailing a couple of pins to hold it in place.

That afternoon we were on such a high from actually building it, not very much seemed to get done. However there was the issue of the pavilion having a wobble. A big wobble. This is currently under scrutiny and a plan is being thought up to sort it out. Something along the lines of tensioning cable or metal rods diagonally down the sides of the pavilion.

Never give an angry Welshman
a sledgehammer
Big frame, little frame, cardboard
Death by tube

Monday, 12 November 2012

Nearly there . . .

Second to last day before the build and being in the Shed all weekend has completely screwed up our body clocks so now none of us really know what day of the week it is. Time has, to quote the immortal words of Jen, gone out the window!

We planned the day so that we took shifts between working on the pavilion and working on our portfolios.
SamSam headed straight over to the workshop with Joe to finished CNC-ing the frame. This was then bought to the small team of us in the wood-workshop to be chiseled, filed and sanded to within an inch of it's life. This would then be ready to varnish.
The CNC machine in action
Over the weekend, we had also glued six plywood layers together to create a thick beam for the base. The slots for the frame needed to be chiselled out to make sure the frame fitted well. This was also done in the workshop before taken back over to our storage container.
Lunch time came with a shift change so while I spent the afternoon catching up on some blog entries and portfolio, other team members were slaving away to finish the varnishing and the inserts.
As we had finished varnishing the inserts on Sunday, they could then be fitted properly by pinning strips of rubber/scrap lino flooring around the edges. This was so that they wouldn't fall out of the tubes.

By the end of the day we were nearly ready for the test build.

Operation Top Secret Working in the Shed Without Anyone Finding Out

Varnishing the frames
Over the weekend, we were able to get into the Shed to continue work on the pavilion. And did we need it! 

So while Clara and I were sat behind a craft stall in Prestwich, a group of dedicated volunteers offered up their Saturday to the cause. From what I can gather, it was a great day. The weather was good and there was just the right number of people there to help out. 
They were able to finish coating the inside of the tubes with PVA - some of them had been missed in the first round - and make a good start on varnishing the frames. Inserts were also PVA-ed ready to be varnished. 
ooooh . . . magic

I just wish we were having as much luck with our craft fair. We were all set up but unfortunately, there was hardly anyone there (we found out later that it could have been due to a Christmas fair being held further up the road. Grr) We managed to sell a few of our off-cuts and some of my cards but it wasn't nearly as much as we had hoped. 
Sanding, Snacks and Sunshine

I was able to go and help them on Sunday and although the weather wasn't as nice as the previous day, we still got quite a lot done: all the tubes got varnished and we were able to make a good start on varnishing the inserts. We also varnished all but the un-cut frames - which were due to be done when the workshop opened on Monday morning. 
The binbags made a re-appearance as we
coated the inserts
Just chillin' in a bin . . . as you do

Black Friday

Just for the record: Not a lot happened on Thursday. It was, of course, lectures but a very small handful of us volunteered to come to the Shed super early and chop down the forest (continuing with the metaphor from my last entry). This involved us meeting at 8.30am with the plan to be finished in time to get to lectures at 10am. We managed it and the tubes were stacked on shelves in alphabetical order by the time we left ready to be worked on that evening after lectures had finished . . . . . 

That didn't happen.

Third year were using the room and we would have to wait at least an hour before we could get in there, by which time there would hardly be any point in us starting varnishing. So we all got a well needed early night.

Onto Friday!

Nothing seemed to be going right on Friday. Despite planning on a really early start, it was a slow one as we were moved from place to place due to the spaces being used for teaching. 

Once we had finally settled, SamSam were off to the workshop to CNC the frame. The pieced that had been CNC-ed were then bought back for us to chisel out the circles (which seem to be taking over EVERYWHERE now!) and sand the frames down ready for coating. Sheel and Taniya were sent, once again, to B&Q to pick up said wood varnish.

Progress was also made on the inserts and over lunch, I heading over to the workshop with some 120 off-cuts to get them sanded for the craft fair. 

Whilst all this was going on, it had begun to rain so we had to quickly get all the still-slightly-wet tubes in before sending Sheel and Taniya to swap the wood varnish because it wasn't actually waterproof (???) 

Filing and sanding on the frames continued for the duration of the day but Clara (who would be coming with me to the craft fair) and I managed to escape and decorate some of the beautifully sanded off-cuts. 

By the time Sheel and Taniya got back to the Shed, it was closing time. However, Siobhan had managed to get the Shed open over the weekend for us to continue, but Shhhhh, it's a secret!

Icky Sticky Stuff . . .

This week has been all about the tubes
Apologises for the very late entry; we have all been so busy with the pavilion. Wednesday morning started with gluing the remainder of the tubes so that we could start varnishing that afternoon. Work went well and we were done soon after lunch so they could be left to dry.

Long days + solvent = crazy students
Meanwhile, Alex and Jamie were on the hunt for varnish. Jamie was enquiring about sponsorship from one of the suppliers but to no avail - the manager was in China. Darn. However, we managed to find a supplier in Manchester and Siobhan was able to go and collect that mid-afternoon. 

We were told that the CNC machine would be free that afternoon so Joe was working against the clock to finalise the CAD drawings to make them suitable for cutting. He and Oli were up at the CAM suite to get that sorted.

I managed to confirm the craft fair on Saturday and to build up funds, Taniya and I planned to sell cards and decorated off cuts at our hall's bar that evening.

 While we were waiting for the glue to dry, the priority was to get the back room reclaimed and ready to varnish in. This involved people clearing tables away, laying down paper and, probably most importantly, opening the large doors at the back.

Nearly there!
Our Tube Forest

We started getting ready to varnish at 4pm and we were done by 6pm. We actually finished quicker than we thought although the back room turned into an eerie – and smelly – tube forest. Donning latex gloves and some rather fetching bin bags protected our clothes and we kept the massive doors open to aerate the room slightly – thanks to Jen for making us take a 10 minute fresh air break before we got too high on the fumes.

While most went home as soon as we had finished, the few of us who stayed behind to clear up chilled out with Siobhan outside the fume-filled room and ate Subway while the room aerated for a couple of hours before the Shed closed for the night. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

All hands on deck

Some of us became very attached to our tubes. . .
Once again, another early start for the Tube Cubed team. The plan was to meet at 8:45 and start the cutting of the tubes. Joe had made a list of the lengths needed so once we had sorted them into the rows and made individual cutting lists. We had three teams up and sawing and were finished soon after lunch time.
As all the tubes were all different we had to measure each diameter individually. This was recorded on the cutting sheets which were kept and Joe was able to make the appropriate adjustments to the drawing of the frame. 
We weren't going to let the guys have all
the fun!
Teamwork was crucial

Once cut, the tubes were labelled with the grid reference according to our drawing and the ends sanded down to give a clean finish to them.

Organising the tubes into their rows was fun. A lot of them were already pretty much together as they were cut by the same teams but we needed to group them together and separate them before we could start gluing.

Someone order plywood?
Whilst we were busy in the Shed, Taniya and Sheel headed down to B&Q to pick up some glue and brushes. Warren, our white van man stole Sam and Panicos to help him collect the 13 sheets of plywood we need for the frame. I was also able to get into contact with the rubber suppliers and ordered the sheet we needed. It was meant to be ready for today. Yesterday afternoon I got an e-mail saying it was ready so Warren, Alex and I headed up to Cheetham to pick it up, making a stop at B&Q to pick up more PVA and buckets on the way back.
We were then able to FINALLY start coating the tubes with watered down PVA as a waterproof  base coat for the varnish - which should be happening today.
Gluing Tubes
Tubes, tubes, everywhere