For this building tower project, we were given
- Timber (MDF) Strips
- Glue Sticks
Our tower measurements are 24×24 cm for the base, 17×17 cm for the top most layer and the height is 55cm. the maximum height is 60×60 cm, however we decided on a shorter structure so as to lower the center of gravity and to make it more stable.
The design of our tower is in the shape of pyramid like the one below.
To make this slanted shape, we needed to file the small ends of the timber strips so that it can be placed in a slightly slanted way. We also start out with a bigger base, which will decrease in size as it goes taller. In order to build this shape, we have to take accurate measurements and we spent a whole lot of time working on it. We also thought on how many levels our tower should have. We finally decided on 3 levels. For all 3 levels, we made it the same height.
Our tower have 3 levels and 4 supporting pillars, each pillar has 2 sticks glued together. at the side, it has 2 shorter sticks aligned in a ‘V’ shape and 1 across to support it.
We also added a cross under the upper stick in between the 2 pillar for every levels, so as to support the following level. We also glued the middle point where the cross meet, this is to endure the stick from bending when pressure is applied to it. We did the same procedure for all 4 sides of the tower.
For our top base, we laid the sticks horizontally across in both direction. We build this to support the weight and lessen the pressure. The reason we added more sticks on this layer is to spread out the pressure acting on our tower when the load is placed on it. We then added more glue at the base to strengthen the sticks in place, ensuring the building doesn’t topple over when weight is placed on it. Lastly, we tied all the 4 corners of each layer so that it will hold the sticks tighter in place. We tied a dead knot and added glue so that the strings wouldn’t slip off.
We first measured and marked out the required measurements before we went to cut it.
In the picture, we are working on our supporting pillars, we glue the two pieces of timber sticks together using a hot glue gun, we then press it tightly together so it will stick. For this process, we couldn’t take too much time or the glue will dry and it wouldn’t stick.
We also spend time filing the timber strip so as to make it able to stand slanted.
Testing of the model
Basically, our tower was tested based on how much weight it can handle before it collapses. Our tower weigh 827.2g. Eventually, our tower was capable of supporting a weight of 40 kg before it collapsed. We scored 15 during the model testing, which is not a bad result.
These results could not be possible without facing several obstacles. For example, at first we did not know how to use the equipment in the workshop. As we did not have any D&T background, most of the equipment were foreign to us. Another problem faced was measuring and cutting. it was a bit frustrating to get the details and measurements right. We ended up cutting several strips unequally thus making it unusable. For several sticks, we couldn’t place it where we wanted as they were all a few centimetres short or long. In other words, not everything went according to plan. Apart from that, it was frustrating and pressurising to deal with deadlines while trying to complete the model on time.We spend too much time focusing on how our product should look like as well as filing the sticks took too much time.
Fortunately, we were able to solve these problems by learning, asking for help when necessary, managing our time and working together. Despite the many challenges faced, we were still able to succeed.
Of course, there are many things our group can improve on.
As our group has only 3 members, it was quite a task to complete our tower in time and we managed to finish it during the last minute. We spent too much time in the beginning planning and hesitating the design of our tower and the measurements . If we had better time management, our group could improve on our structure so that it can hold more weights as we would finish building with extra time left.
During the process of building, we were quite clueless and confused on how to improve our stability of tower, which led to the placement of sticks in weird places . We made mistakes such as cutting the the wrong length of sticks many times, and this caused us to have a shortage of sticks in the end. We can improve this problem if only we think thoroughly for our design before proceeding to build it.
The top base of our tower could also be improved as it was very messy and the sticks were of different length. This was mainly because we ran out of sticks which was of exact length for the top base. As the base is also one of the most important layer of the structure, if we were able to have a more stable and organised base, we believe that our tower is able to withstand more weight.
Although all of us doesn’t have D&T background, we still manage to complete our tower. This is all thanks to the co-operation of the 3 members as we all work together as one. We learnt together through this project and became closer. 1 thing that we had learnt is ‘team work makes the dream work’ 🙂